On Tuesday, June 16th, members of the Education Collaborative of the New York Immigration Coalition held a press conference to release key survey findings showing major gaps in access to translation and interpretation services for parents in New York City’s schools.
Sapna NYC’s Parent Advocate, Gulshan Chowdhury spoke at the press conference sharing her story, “When my youngest son started school I wanted to volunteer in his school. There were many Bengali parents and families whose children attend the school but the majority of them were not able to participate. I learned that they did not feel comfortable and did not understand what was happening. I was asked to translate, but I did not get any training. I would help when I could but as the only Bengali speaking volunteer often I could not help all parents. Parents would ask for translators for parent teacher conference but I was there for my own child and could not volunteer. When we asked the school to provide translators they said they had no budget or that it would take too long on the phone.”
The new report, The Great Parent Engagement Gap: Report on School Translation and Interpretation for NYC Parents, presents parent survey findings that:
- Half of parents are missing critical information because it’s not translated or because they don’t have an interpreter.
- More parents report never receiving services now than in 2007.
- Parents are relying on children to interpret on a large scale despite the DOE’s own regulations prohibiting this practice in most settings.
- Almost a decade after the Chancellor codified parental language access rights and formed a special unit, a large percentage of parents still don’t know that they can get translation and interpretation.
- Lack of access to translation and interpretation greatly impedes parents’ ability to be engaged in their children’s education.