Kim, Braunstein push DOE for dual language expansion

Assemblyman Kim and Braunstein discussed the expansion of thedual language program with the DOE.
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State Assemblymen Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) met with city Department of Education officials Monday to discuss the expansion of the Korean Dual Language program in New York schools.

The assemblymen, whose districts have heavy Korean populations, said it was important to include Korean in these language programs, which are mostly limited to Chinese and Spanish. There is currently only one Korean Dual Language Program available in all of New York City at Flushing’s PS 32 and it ends after fifth grade, right before many students begin regular foreign language studies in junior high school.

In the meeting with DOE officials, Kim and Braunstein asked that they consider the growing Korean population in New York, particularly in Queens neighborhoods like Flushing, Bayside, and Whitestone. The lawmakers contended that the growth of the Korean community has created an increased demand for such dual language programs.

Also at the meeting were members from the Korean American Association of Greater New York, language education specialist Dr. Yung Duk Kim and Bright Limm, president of the Korean Americans for Political Advancement.

The community leaders urged DOE to work with the Assembly members in developing the program beyond primary school.

Kim, who is the only Korean-American elected official in New York, said studies have shown how valuable a bilingual education is for the development of young minds and limiting the language options could potentially prevent otherwise interested parents from enrolling their children in dual language programs.

“As a Korean-American whose two daughters will likely grow up speaking English, Korean and Chinese, the importance of this kind of education is clear to me,” Kim said. “The current program at PS 32 is a good start, but remains limited. It’s the only Korean dual language program in the whole city and ends after elementary school. By the time its participants graduate from high school, many may already forget what they learned. They should be offered a chance to continue their bilingual education, and their peers who live in other similar school districts should have an equal opportunity to enroll in these valuable programs.”

Braunstein said dual language programs have a proven track record of improving educational outcomes for students. He said many Korean-American families in his district are often surprised and disheartened when they discover Korean is not offered among the list of available programs.

“Our meeting today has given me hope that we can expand the current program to a far greater scope,” he said. “A bilingual education can foster greater intercultural exchange and understanding, helping to bridge gaps between communities while ensuring New York students of all backgrounds can stay connected to their roots and heritage.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Keepitathome from Queens says:
We live in America, time to speak English! You chose to move here, you are no longer in Korea! Keep your own language in your owm households! My tax dollars should not have to go towards something like that. We need better quality teachers to teach ALL OF OUR KIDS and renovating in the schools. If you wanted them to learn in Korean then you should have stayed in Korea and had your kids over there!
Dec. 13, 2017, 5:52 am
Keepitathome from Queens says:
Dec. 13, 2017, 5:52 am
THINK from Queens says:
AND it is idiotic Democratic identity politics which is what put the big idiot Trump into office.

THIS IS AMERICA, English is the language spoken here. Speak your language at home with friends, etc, but we should NOT be wasting money for schools to teach in other language.
Dec. 13, 2017, 7:15 am
Babel from Queens says:
^youre right. We do need to invest in our schools. Write to your Council member. Our schools are crumbling and it's thought to attract and retain the best teachers when they're underpaid.That being said....

140 languages are spoken in Queens. Dual-language programs are for everyone's benefit. Primarily English speakers that learn a second language score higher in their reading exams. This isn't about catering to Koreans, there are dual language programs in nearly a dozen languages across the city. Programs like this also help immigrants integrate and assimilate. These kids are already learning English in schools,let's give them the opportunity to expand just beyond one language.
Dec. 13, 2017, 11:17 am
Babel from Queens says:
Dec. 13, 2017, 11:18 am
Languages from Queens says:
You do realize that most students in NYS public schools have to learn another language in order to graduate?

Dual language programs simply expands that requirement to the point that English speaking students may be able to speak the other language more fluently. It can also help non-English speaking students get a better grip on English. Practice makes perfect.

Many programs have both students in one classroom.
Dec. 13, 2017, 4:45 pm
M from Queens says:
Let's ASSIMILATE guy's!! ... Don't Try To Make the USA Korea! Its NOT be Thankful You Are Here ! Speak English in School and at Work!...
Dec. 13, 2017, 7:01 pm
M from Queens says:
Of course a foreign language is a graduation requirement... Maybe select Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Latin or Italian fulfill your language requirement....
Dec. 13, 2017, 7:07 pm
Sophia from Flushing says:
I don't understand those people this American and the main language is English. Why does he for more school space with all those kids .
Dec. 15, 2017, 11:38 pm
Bright Limm from Kew Gardens Hills says:
Hi everyone, my name is Bright Limm, and I'm the guy in the photo with the laptop. I just saw this article and just finished reading the comments so far, and I wanted to clarify something about the Dual Language programs that might not be obvious – at least if you're just hearing about these programs for the first time.

The main purpose of these programs is actually to help immigrant students learn *ENGLISH* faster than they would in a normal program. For many and possibly most young children, dual language programs are the best way to learn a new language (i.e., English), helping these students not only to pick up English more quickly than if they attended regular classes but also to actually think in-depth in terms of their newly learned language (rather than mentally translating from their native language).

A second purpose of the Dual Language programs is to help these same immigrants students do better in their other core courses (i.e., social studies, math, and science) than if they were in a normal class. By reinforcing the subject matter in two languages while they're still struggling to learn English, the dual language programs help ensure that these students are picking up the actual content of these courses rather than getting lost in translation.

While half of students are native English speakers whose parents enroll them in Dual Language programs to become fluent in another language (such as Korean, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, French, Bengali, or Hebrew), the immigrant half of the student population is there precisely to become fluent in English faster. Put another way: basically, these programs promote both assimilation into the English language-based American academic system and multiculturalism by having a class full of half-immigrant, half-native US students.

And these programs are succeeding in achieving both purposes. The native-English speaking students do become fluent in the other language, while both the native and non-native English speaking students score slightly BETTER on state tests than native English speakers in regular ed programs by the time they reach 4th grade. Of course, state tests are flawed in lots of ways, but I'm just using it because it's the one metric relied on heavily by the city, state and fed governments. The stats show that Dual Language programs help students to learn English more quickly than in other programs and also help them keep up their native-English speaking peers in the other courses.

Hope that's helpful. If you'd like to have a more in-depth conversation, you can email me at

Dec. 17, 2017, 12:19 pm

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