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Big 5 School Districts ask for support for ELL students

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

New York States Big 5 School Districts gathered in Buffalo Friday morning to issue a list of recommendations to support English Language Learners in classrooms.  

The Buffalo School District hosted the announcement inside Lafayette High School which now has a major focus on its international students.

As cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany & Yonkers continue to have seen populations replenished with immigrant and refugees, supplying quality programs for ELL students is a huge challenge.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Banner to welcome Big 5 School Districts.

The Districts are urging several recommendations that include funding from state and federal governments. Buffalo Teachers Federation Phil Rumore, appearing in support of the Big 5 Districts, said should not have to plead for help with ‘hat 'n hand’

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore said districts should not be forced to 'beg' for help.

“The dirty little secret is we are the worse – second worse in the national in the disparity between what affluent school districts get and what poor school districts get – that’s us,” declared Rumore.   

The Big 5 Districts are demanding more qualified ELL teachers and for the state to provide translated regents tests. Dr. Edwin Quezada is the Yonkers Schools Superintended in Yonkers.

“Can we please stop testing our English Language Learners at the rate we are testing them. Isn’t better to have them in the classroom?” explained Quezada. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Dr. Edwin Quezada is the Yonkers Schools Superintended in Yonkers.

Both State lawmakers Sean Ryan and Tim Kennedy appeared with the districts vowing to assist and fighting for the recommendations in Albany. 

“I applaud the conference of Big 5 School Districts for their administration recommendations for ELL programs,” said Kennedy. “We are going to drive this agenda forward in Albany and provide more services for our schools across the state.”

“It’s a true reflection of needs of the school district,” said Ryan. 

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