The Ibero-American Action League is asking New York state to allocate adequate funding for the education of multilingual students in Rochester.
The request follows the late-March release of a report by the Latino Education Advocacy Directors, a statewide coalition of which Ibero is a part. The report indicated that multilingual students have the lowest graduation rates in the state and lag significantly behind their peers in academic success. Multilingual students are those individuals who speak or understand a language other than English and speak or understand little or no English.
According to LEAD’s report (https://bit.ly/2GPEADv), the population of multilingual students in the state has grown almost 20 percent during the past 10 years. However, the availability of certified bilingual education and English as a second language teachers has not kept pace with the demand for the growing number of multilingual students, the report noted. This lack of faculty, the report contends, has resulted in a 30 percent dropout rate and a 27 percent graduation rate for multilingual students statewide.
According to the Rochester City School District, multilingual students make up 15 percent of its student body. The graduation and dropout rates for multilingual students or English language learners is 18 percent and 44 percent, respectively, according to the RCSD. The district’s Hispanic students — who make up most of the ELL student body — have graduation and dropout rates of 50 percent and 23 percent, respectively, the RCSD noted.
In order to close the academic achievement gap for multilingual students statewide, the LEAD report urges New York to focus on six priorities:
• Fund an initiative to increase graduation rates for multilingual students.
• Hire more certified bilingual education teaching staff members.
• Grow support for parent engagement for multilingual students.
• Increase socio-emotional supports for multilingual students.
• Form a state commission to advance the achievement of multilingual students.
• Invest $85 million annually for multilingual students over a three-year period, including $4.1 million in Foundation Aid to school districts.