Today, Council Member Mark Levine launched a new Languages for All campaign aimed at creating a robust expansion of foreign language education programs in NYC.
Learning a foreign language early in life can be an invaluable asset to a child growing up in the world’s most global city. However, very few of the DOE’s language learning programs reach students during their most formative years. In addition to the obvious economic benefits associated with knowing a second language, studies have proven that language learning benefits students in countless ways, including: higher levels of academic achievement, improved cognitive ability, enhanced decision-making ability, and even staving off the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Council Member Levine is renewing his call for the City to increase the number of elementary students in immersion programs to 20% of all students and to grow the number of languages offered to 20, a goal the City has not yet met despite progress.
The DOE currently offers 245 Dual Language programs across the five boroughs for 11 languages, including: Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, Polish, Japanese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Italian, Hebrew, and Korean.
Council Member Levine introduced two pieces of legislation to expand dual languages programs in the City, including:
· A bill directing the DOE to annually report to the Council on the number and progress of foreign language learning (FLL) programs in the City (Int 762-2018); and
· A resolution calling on the State to enact A.1154/S. 3641 sponsored by Assembly member Nily Rozic and State Senator Kevin Parker that would establish incentives for college students to become bilingual-certified teachers (Res 273-2018).
“New York is the most multilingual city in the world, and yet, our City’s public schools are falling behind when it comes to foreign language instruction at an early age,” said Council Member Levine. “As the world becomes ever more connected, multilingualism is an increasingly valuable asset in the job market. Language learning-- especially at a young age--also aids cognitive development and promotes academic achievement in other subjects. For young people to succeed in today’s global world, we need to create a language learning system for the 21st Century, focused on immersion at a young age.”