Dear NYSABE Member:
On March 11-14th, NYSABE held its 27th annual conference at the Huntington Hilton in Melville , NY . The conference highlights were keynote sessions, concurrent workshops, an advocacy session, parent and teacher institutes, exhibitors, a leadership institute, student performances, luncheons, and a wonderful banquet to celebrate all of the accomplishments of bilingual educators. The conferenceís professional development strands included bilingual education, bilingual special education, English-as-a-second language, reading and literacy, instructional programs and strategies and policy and practice.
Our conference theme was Bilingual Education: Ensuring Equity for ALL learners. This theme was developed with marginalized students in mind. It sought to instill the need for each bilingual educator to be cognizant and actively seek to provide an equitable education to students who are not typically associated with the mainstream. Our hope is that you will ensure that students who are culturally and linguistically diverse, including those with disabilities, have an opportunity to be recognized as an important thread in the fabric of this countryís prosperity. In my conference programís opening letter, I implored the participants to dissect their theoretical and practical frameworks of true equity. I am sure that after attending the conference, most were able to view the ways in which they can ensure equity and make a commitment to ALL students.
The week before the conference, Diana Lamís requested resignation fostered a feeling of uncertainty for those who advocate for Bilingual programs in New York City . Maria Santos , Senior Instructional Manager- NYCDOE, provided a sense of assurance to all during her keynote session. Her message was clear. The instruction of English Language Learners continues to be a priority in the New York City Public Schools. During the conference, the NYSABE and NYSTESOL executive boards met with our past-presidents, Carmen Perez-Hogan and other key individuals to develop a strategic advocacy plan. On Saturday, we conducted an advocacy session to share the initial strategic advocacy action plan (see plan below). Our hope is that you will continue to advocate for bilingual education, for we must all ensure that the chancellorís seven recommendations continue to be implemented with fidelity.
What can you do? You can begin by viewing our strategic advocacy plan. Then, educate your colleagues, administrators, parents, legislatures, regents and community leaders on the successes and needs of bilingual education. We must not wait until our programs across the state are on the brinks of extinction. We must preemptively continue to garner allies today, so that during difficult times, the majority of the people will say yes to bilingual education and no to those who seek to threaten our programs. You must act now- donít wait until tomorrow!
Strategic Advocacy Action Plan
Please take the time to read this and add it to your things to do list. Thank you for your time and effort.
David Mauricio Carmen E. Soto
President Executive Board Member, Advocacy Chair
Our focus was twofold:
1. The education of ELLs in NYC
2. Advocacy efforts at the state-level
Below you will find general information and NYSABE's recommendations for advocacy, so that you can remain informed.
Children First Reform-NYC
On June 24, 2003 NYC Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein and Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Diana Lam announced the Children First Reform. It was designed to improve and strengthen programs for ELLs in NYC public schools and outlined three multi-year goals.
The Three Multi-year goals are:
-Improve instruction and raise the academic achievement for all ELLs in NYC by aligning ELL programs to the new core curriculum
-Build capacity of all educators to deliver coherent programs and high quality instruction
-Increase the meaningful participation of parents of ELLs in their child's education
Chancellor's Seven Recommendations for ELLs-NYC
1. Aligning programs with citywide comprehensive core curriculum
2. Instructional Support Specialists (107)
3. Teacher Academy-professional development
4. System-wide language allocation guidelines
5. Implementing effective monitoring and assessment for programs
6. Holding schools and principals
7. Improving the communication with parents and families
Shortly, you will receive this plan via email from [email protected] (past-president).
In your advocacy efforts, NYSABE recommends the following talking points:
-Sustain the Department of Education's three multi-year goals
-Ensure the implementation of the seven recommendations
-Sustain all initiatives that support the seven recommendations
As you know, often what happens in NYC makes its way to other districts in NY State. NYC represents the greatest number of ELLs, NYSABE members, bilingual teachers, administrators, parents and is the corner stone of bilingual education in New York State . The loss of Diana Lam has also caused us to focus our recent efforts on NYC. It is, however, also important that all districts are represented by NYSABE. The following is an update on our advocacy efforts at the state level.
NYSABE Statewide Initiatives:
1. Continue to collaborate with Carmen Perez-Hogan, coordinator of the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and BETACs
2. Lobby day- NYSABE will conduct its annual lobby day, however this year, each delegate will meet with their local legislatures and NYS Regents to discuss the education of ELLs and to inform them of the benefits and needs of bilingual education
3. NYSABE Lobbyist- Mark Lewis, our lobbyist in Albany , will continue to work with legislatures and Regents on budget, achievement and programmatic issues in NYS.
4. Membership: NYSABE will continue to keep you informed of advocacy related issues via our web (nysabe.org), email and our newsletter.
What is NYSABE's advocacy Plan for NYC?
-Collaborate with CEEELL(Coalition for Educational Excellence for English
-Requested a meeting with the interim deputy chancellor for teaching and learning to discuss the 7 recommendations for ELL programs
-Continue to inform key legislators and administrators and seek support
-Continue to monitor and provide support for the implementation of the seven
-Take an active role in the ELL Academy Kickoff #2
Additionally, NYSABE is instituting a massive membership drive. Like most non-for profit organizations, 90% of our membership derives from conference attendance. Help NYSABE reach its goal- 5,000 new members by June 30th, 2004 . To this end, we have provided a moratorium on the membership fees (see membership application in this issue or visit our website to download one). Therefore, please help us sign up all of your colleagues, parents and community leaders for their free trial membership (savings of $35). We will translated the application into several languages for you to share with your parents (this will be available on our website shortly).
NYSABEís annual financial plan is projected to strengthen the status of the organization. In August, you will receive the Presidentís Final Report that will provide you with conclusive results of our efforts.
I hope that you continue to enjoy the services of our organization and that you join us at our regional conferences. During the month of May, we will conduct our annual advocacy day. NYSABE delegates will meet with legislatures and NYS Regents to advocate for bilingual programs across the state. You can also schedule an appointment to meet your representatives to discuss bilingual education (visit our website to gather more information to assist you).
The ultimate measure of a man (woman) is not where he (she) stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he (she) stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.