TRANSLATION BILL NIXED

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On Friday, Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the Education Equity Act, a hotly contested bill that would provide translation services to parents of children in New York City public schools. While state regulations already require schools to translate documents like report cards and provide interpreters for parents, many still fail to provide these services, said Andrew Friedman, co-director of Make the Road by Walking, a Bushwick-based advocacy group. The bill would require greater compliance with the law [see “Language Bill in Limbo”]. “Less than 10 percent of Latino students graduated with a Regents diploma last year,” he said. “The mayor should be doing everything possible to improve immigrant student performance.” The mayor argues that the bill is unnecessary. The Department of Education (DOE) “already spends more than $10 million annually on translation and interpretation services,” he wrote in his veto message. Not only is the bill inflexible, he wrote, but “the State precludes local legislation on the subject.” Friedman is confident that the legislation has enough City Council support to override the veto, but he hopes DOE will resume negotiations instead. “We’ve been following up with them,” he said. “They’re just not calling us back.” (C. Feldman)