391429 06: A young student in Ms. McFaul''s second grade Early Intervention Bilingual class looks closely at a math exam during a summer school June 3, 2001 at Brentano Academy in Chicago. More than half of Chicago''s 430,000 public school students must attend summer school this year before they can go on to the next grade, Chicago Public School officials say. Former Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas said about 245,000 pupils failed to score high enough on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills to be promoted. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. says the city plan will provide more options, support and services for students and their families. The city expects to open 125 bilingual programs in the next three years.
King says Wednesday that English language learners face serious obstacles to academic success and the program will remove many of them.
In addition to Spanish, students in New York City schools come from homes and neighborhoods where any of dozens of different languages are spoken.
The graduation rate for English language learners was just 42 percent in June. That's up from 25 percent in 2003.