Nolan Leads Education Committee Investigation into Policies

October 10, 2007

Albany – Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Queens) announced that the New York State Assembly Committee on Education, which she Chairs, will hold a public hearing on English Language Learners and Limited English Proficient students (ELL/LEP). The hearing will be held on Friday, October 12, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. at the Legislative office building in Albany.

The Committee will focus on listening to the needs of the ELL/LEP population and how they are affected by State and Federal policies. The 2007-2008 State budget included a provision that required school districts receiving Total Foundation Aid to develop a comprehensive plan to meet the educational needs of ELL/ LEP students and coordinate local efforts and oversight. Committee members will also follow-up with last year’s hearing subject by addressing where New York stands with ELL/LEP testing requirements set forth by the Federal Government under No Child Left Behind. Special attention will be given to how New York State Policy will change over time as a result of these requirements.

Nolan has invited community members, educators and administrators involved with ELL/LEP Students to testify at the hearing. “Our goal is to learn as much as possible about the needs of students and those charged with educating them. The everyday experiences of educators and administrators is crucial to our understanding and will help us prepare for the new legislative session and budget cycle,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.

According to the State Education Department there are approximately 200,000 ELL/LEP students, comprising over 13% of the total student enrollment in New York State. “Ultimately, new laws should not make it more complicated to accomplish the goal of helping these students. We will keep that in mind as we listen to testimony from people who are directly involved with ELL/LEP students,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.

New York State Department of Education Commissioner Richard Mills is scheduled to testify at Friday’s hearing. Others witnesses include, Billy Easton, Executive Director of the NYS Alliance for Quality Education; Catalina Fortino of the United Federation of Teachers; Charles Santelli of the New York State United Teachers; Dr. Marcia Lyles and Maria Santos of the New York City Department of Education.