August 13, 2007

‘F’ Doesn't Stand for Fabulous

The New York Times published an article today about the office at the New York City Department of Education responsible for translating school documents, like report cards and parent surveys, into the eight languages most commonly spoken in New York, after English: Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Bengali, Arabic, Urdu, Korean and Haitian Creole.

"It has since expanded to an office with 40 employees and a $4.5 million budget...In one respect, the office even surpasses the translation division at United Nations headquarters, which translates most documents into only five official languages other than English: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish."

With ever-increasing diversity in school districts large and small across the country, what are local departments of education to do to meet the challenge of engaging communicating with parents?