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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

New York City Department of Education to launch first dual language program in Bengali

May 17, 2018
Press Release
Initiative is created after Reps. Grace Meng and Joe Crowley urged the agency to implement dual language programs in South Asian languages; Lawmakers also continue call for additional South Asian dual language programs to meet needs of Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese and other South Asian communities
QUEENS, NY – After urging the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to create dual language programs in South Asian languages, U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Joe Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, announced today that the agency has taken concrete steps to develop this initiative in New York City public schools.
 
Beginning this September, the DOE will offer a dual language program in Bengali, which will be the first South Asian dual language program 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 Rep. 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.