Chairman Crowley, Rep. Meng Convince NYC Department of Education to Launch First Dual Language Program in Bengali
(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, announced that they successfully convinced the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to create its first ever South Asian dual language program.
Beginning this September, the DOE will offer a dual language program in Bengali in New York City public schools. The DOE will make the program available at P.S. 7/the Louis F. Simeone School in Elmhurst, Queens.
The decision to add Bengali comes after Meng and Crowley urged the DOE in 2015 to expand their language programs, arguing that these initiatives would better meet the needs of the large South Asian population in New York. The lawmakers noted in their letter to then-Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña that dual language programs included everything from Chinese and French to Haitian Creole and Russian but no South Asian languages.
“I applaud the Department of Education and our new Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza for implementing this new dual language program,” said Rep. Meng. “This initiative is greatly needed and it will be a tremendous boon to students of Bangladeshi descent. I am also thrilled that it will be offered in a school attended by my constituents here in Queens. By establishing the first South Asian dual language program, the DOE demonstrations that it understands how important these programs are to the South Asian community. Dual language programs help immigrant students flourish in the classroom, and provides them with opportunities to succeed in life. I now call on the DOE to build on this important first-step and expand dual language programs to other South Asian languages in order to meet the needs of students and parents in the Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese, and other South Asian communities. I look forward to working with Chancellor Carranza to help make that happen.”
“New York City has made great strides in offering a variety of language programs for our city’s schoolchildren, and I’m honored that Queens will be home to the first South Asian dual language program,” said Chairman Crowley. “By bringing Bengali into the classroom, we are creating new opportunities for students of South Asian descent to thrive. Our education system should reflect the diversity of our families, and I hope the Department of Education will continue creating new dual language programs to support other members of the South Asian community.”
In dual language programs, students are taught half in English and half in another language. The programs are made available to English-language learners, immigrant students who are native speakers of the second language, and native English speakers.
Click here to view the Meng/Crowley letter and their original press release.