The Honoraable_____________________________________

Legislative Office Building

Albany, NY 12248





As your constituent in_____________________________________________, I am a____________________________________at_____________________________, where I work with English Language Learners.


The Board of Regents has proposes an increase of about $20 million in State Aid for the education of limited English proficient population. These funds fall into the Bilingual Categorical Aid for year 2000-2001, and I urge you to support these allocations. This funding was approved by the Regents in December 1999 and will be before you in the State Legislature shortly for negotiations. These funds are of vital importance for all our school districts across New York, which are facing the challenge of preparing English Language Learners (ELL) to meet high Standards and Assessments.


As you know, our ELL students are required to meet the same standards in all curriculum areas as those of native English speakers. Teachers of ELL students need your support as they face a double challenge: teaching a second language and content instructions. The funds provided in the past are demonstrating incremental improvement in our efforts. Do not allow these efforts to come to a halt!


State mandates are presently requiring additional instructional time, this translates to more teachers and materials. Also, districts need support for the extended day efforts that can make a difference in the education of these students. Equally important are the funds to teacher training so those teachers can improve their skills in order to help ELL students meet high standards and rigorous assessments.


Help us do our job. The success of our ELL students is of great consequence to all of us in New York State. Therefore, I ask you to support these funding efforts.


Thank you for working on behalf of educators and students, New York State Association for Bilingual Education (NYSABE) member.





_____________________ __________________________________________

Name Address




FACT SHEET: The 1999 Executive Budget Proposes Zero Funding for Bilingual Categorical Funds: Implications for LEP Students


More than 200,000 LEP students in 350 districts could be affected


As its November 1997 meeting, the Board of Regents approved a proposal to revise high school graduation requirements requiring all students, including those who are newly arrived limited English proficient (LEP), to meet higher educational standards and to pass more rigorous assessments including passing the Regents tests in social studies, mathematics, science and English in order to graduate from high school. They also included for the translation of the required core subject Regents examinations math, science and social studies into the five languages other than English spoken by the majority of LEP students.


However, all LEP/ELL students must pass the English Regents in order to graduate from high school. It is imperative to channel existing resources and to identify others to build the capacity of the educational system to ensure that LEP students meet the higher standards and graduation requirements. The 1999 Executive Budget Proposal eliminates the 21 million State Bilingual Categorical Funds earmarked for numerous programs and services for this purpose.


If LEP/ELL students are to meet the higher standards, pass the high stakes Regents tests, especially the English Regents, the following priorities and initiatives must be supported and increased:


1.                   Technical assistance to school district personnel on how to help LEP/ELL students meet the higher standards and pass the new assessments.

2.                   Extended school day and school year for intensive English instruction and tutorial in subject area through after-school, Saturday and summer academics.

3.                   Professional development activities for bilingual, ESL and the general teaching population on how to best help LEP/ELL students meet the higher standards.

4.                   Programs designed to increase the pool of certified bilingual and ESL teachers.

5.                   Activities for parents of LEP/ELL students to inform them of the higher standards and how they can best help their children succeed in school.

6.                   Material, resource documents and other guidelines in English and languages best understood by students and parents, to help them understand and implement the standards.

7.                   Activities, programs and strategies to meet the needs of a growing number of newly-arrived LEP students who come with limited academic and literacy skills due to limited schooling in their own countries.

8.                   Support for the development of model programs for LEP students such as Two Way bilingual education.


State bilingual categorical funds support activities in the priorities listed above.


Elimination of the bilingual categorical funds will terminate the following programs and activities, effective July 1, 2000;




Bilingual EXCEL Grants: Competitive grants that are awarded to successful individual school buildings with LEP students. Bilingual EXCEL grants support extended day, after school and Saturday English language and math academies. The academies provide the resources to allow the schools to provide additional and intensive English as a second language/English language arts instruction. In a typical year, approximately 120 school building implement bilingual EXCEL programs for over 12,000 LEP students and their teachers. IF FUNDS ARE NOT RESTORED, THERE WILL BE NO 1999-2000 BILINGUAL EXCEL grants.


Two-Way Bilingual Education Grants - Research shows that the most effective educational programs for LEP students and their classmates in the Two-Way bilingual education program where both newly-arrived immigrants and the English monolingual students learn two languages together. In 1998-99, Two-Way bilingual education programs were funded in 20 school buildings across the state. IF FUNDS ARE NOT RESTORED, THERE WILL BE NO 2000-2001 TWO-WAY BILINGUAL EDUCATION GRANTS.


Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Centers (BETACs) ñ Twelve BETACs provide timely technical assistance and staff development regarding the standards and assessments to school districts with LEP students in their service regions throughout the State. An Asian Language BETAC and a Haitian-Creole Language BETAC address the unique needs of those linguistic groups. IF FUNDS ARE NOT RESTORED ALL BETACs will be closed as of July 1, 2000


The Bilingual/ESL Staff Academies for Raising Standards (BESARS):

The state funded Bilingual/ESL Staff Academy for Raising Standards (BESARS) is a program designed to help LEP students pass the English Regents through the following academies:

1) Professional Development Academy; 2) Instructional Academy; and 3) Parent Academy.

The Professional Development Academy is a collaborative turnkey training model involving school teams composed of a language arts teacher, and English Regents teacher, a native language arts teacher and an English as a second language teacher in an intensive professional development initiative. The school teams capitalize on the strength and expertise of each member of the team to develop the language arts instructional strategies necessary to help LEP students pass the English Regents test.


The Instructional Academy provides for the extension of the school day for LEP youngsters to participate in intensive tutorial sessions before, after school or on Saturdays, under the leadership of the Professional Development Academy teams. The Instructional Academy provides direct and intensive instruction in language arts to help the LEP students pass the Regents tests. The Parent Academy provides information to parents of LEP students on the Stateís new standards and graduation requirements.


Intensive Teacher Institute for Bilingual Education and ESL Teachers (ITI-BE). There is a serious shortage of fully certified bilingual and ESL teachers. In order to meet the higher standards LEP students must be assigned fully certified and thoroughly trained bilingual and/or ESL teachers. The ITI-VE is designed to decrease that number of uncertified teachers by providing tuition assistance to participants to meet the requirements for a New York State teaching certificate. Since 1990, ITI-BE has helped certify more than 500 bilingual and ESL teachers.




Puerto Rican/Hispanic Assembly/Senate Task Force: Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute ñEach year, high school students from throughout the State participate in leadership training, activities culminating in the Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, sponsored by the New York State Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican Task Force in collaboration with the New York State Education Department, the New York City Board of Education, Aspira of New York School Districts statewide and the BETACs.


Parent Leadership Institutes ñ The Parent Leadership Institute (PLI) develops leadership skills and provides training and information on education regulations and programs for LEP students to teams consisting of two LEP parents and one educator. Training is provided in the native languages of the parent trainees. A training manual, provided in six different languages, and a training videotape provided in five languages, was developed for the training. In a typical year, approximately 280 team members throughout the State participate in preliminary or more advanced training. Parents learn about the higher standards and assessments.


Statewide Spanish Spelling Bee ñ The annual statewide Spanish Spelling Bee is held in Albany for Spanish-speaking students in grades three through five. The Spanish Spelling Bee enhances studentsí self-esteem, strengthens writing and vocabulary skills in Spanish, and involves parents of participants as coaches of their children as they prepare for the competition.


Over-Age LEP Student Initiative ñ A recent survey indicated that approximately 12% of LEP students entering New York State schools have limited or interrupted education in their own country. This initiative addresses the critical needs of such students who are ìover-ageî for their grade placement. The 2000-2001 initiative includes research, curriculum development, the identification of program models, and the dissemination of proceedings from the Departmentís 1997 statewide symposium on over-age students.


English Language Arts/Native Language Arts Resource Guide - This publication, which is nearing completion, will enable bilingual, ESL and other teachers of LEP students to more effectively integrate the Stateís English language arts standards in their daily instruction. This publication will supplement ongoing efforts to disseminate the Stateís ELA Standards and Resource Guide to every bilingual education and ESL teacher in the State with an accompanying training program.


Glossaries of Social Studies and Science Terminology ñ The glossary of social studies terminology will provide LEP students with a tool for better understanding social studies and science instruction and help in taking Global Studies, U.S. History and Government and science courses and Regents exams. The terminology will be aligned with the new social studies standards and can be used in several ways: as a supplement to texts, as a reference during administration of Regents exams, or as a study guide. The glossaries will be prepared in Chinese (traditional and simplified), Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and others as necessary.




Although there are LEP students in over 400 districts throughout the State, the vast majorities are enrolled in New York City Schools. In addition to all of the activities, just described, a number of initiatives have been funded to meet the unique needs of the New York City Schools.


NYC: ESL Through Music ñ ìLos Cumbancherosî ñ This is a unique approach to help LEP students in New York City Public Schools learn English as a second language and native language arts through music. In addition to developing studentsí language proficiency and their musical skills and talents, this program builds and strengthens self-image and pride in an enjoyable way.


NYC: Bilingual Math and Science Materials Acquisition and Staff Development

This grant provides funding to New York City Schools with bilingual education programs to purchase math and science materials in languages other than English. The grant also supports staff development activities for bilingual teachers in math and science to upgrade their skills and knowledge in these areas.


NYC: Staff Development for High School Science and Math Teachers of LEP Students ñ This program provides funding for high school science and math teachers to develop policies, practices and instructional strategies to improve the teaching of math and science for LEP students in New York City.


NYC: Bilingual Multicultural Institute (BMI) ñThrough the BMI, the New York City Board of Education provides technical assistance to SURR, schools, with significant LEP populations; expands LEP parental involvement activities; conducts action-research in collaboration with institutions of higher education and school districts and promotes the establishment of quality technology programs with the specific goal of helping LEP students meet the higher standards and pass the State assessments.


NYC: Early Language Assessment Battery (LAB) Testing ñ This project provides funding to cover the costs of the administration of the Language Assessment Battery (LAB) test for newly-arrived students to enter the appropriate program at the start of the school year without losing valuable instructional time waiting for testing. This assessment is currently being revised in order to address the New York State Standards and Assessments systems. Without funding we can not measure students language ability.




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