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FYI: There exists a major disconnect between the education department’s policies and parents’ realities when it comes to the help non-English speaking parents get navigating the school system, a new Milano School study found. Embracing the idea that all parents must be involved in their children’s education and that non-English speakers need help doing so, the department boasts a host of policies to facilitate involvement. But half of all parents in a 294-person survey conducted by Milano’s Center for New York City Affairs said the written notices they got from their kids’ schools were not translated into their native language. One policy calls for immigrant parents to be directly involved in their kids’ enrollment and placement, but 40 percent of survey respondents said they were never asked for input. Nearly a quarter of parents who requested a translator for a school event or meeting didn’t get one. Meanwhile, 13.2 percent of students are learning English as a second language. The Center’s researchers concluded that the department needs an aggressive training program for school-level staff on the services they are supposed to offer immigrant parents. [9/12/03]

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