June 22, 2010

Dear language teacher / language advocate,

It is important that you be aware of the recent activities in the New York State Department of Education. On June 8, in a memo to the EMSC, Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King Jr. made recommendations for “Assessment Cost Reduction Strategies” in order to close an $11.5 million dollar deficit in the SED budget. For the complete memo click here. Among the recommended suggestions are the elimination of the Grade 8 Second Language Proficiency Exams and Foreign Language Regents Exams except for Spanish and French.

Despite our letters and communication with the Regents and state legislators, at yesterday’s meeting they voted in favor of adopting these recommendations with the following conditions:

  1. If the legislature does not approve a budget by August 1, 2010, then all items on Charts 1 and 2 will be eliminated.
  2. If the legislature were to approve total funds that are sufficient to meet only certain needs, then Chart 1 would be implemented first.
  3. If the legislature were to approve total funds that are sufficient to meet minimal needs (but not sufficient to support Charts 1 and 2), then items on both Charts will be eliminated.

Furthermore, the Board of Regents agreed to look at further cuts in assessments in the near future if the fiscal situation does not improve.

At this point in time we need you to contact your legislators and urge them to appropriate the funds necessary to fully fund our current LOTE assessments. Click here for links to state senate and assembly. While the thought of having one less end of the year test to grade may be tempting, the implications for our language programs, students, and teachers of the state could be devastating.

There is also strength in numbers. At this time, NYSAFLT is the only state-wide advocate for LOTE students and teachers in New York State. If you are not already a NYSAFLT member please consider joining today. While we have no control over the state’s economic woes, NYSAFLT will continue to advocate for language programs no matter what the outcome of this year’s budget, and we need your membership support in order to do that.

Also, be assured that NYSAFLT will persist in contacting legislators and others who can advocate on our behalf. We will communicate with the State Education Department to ask the myriad of questions which will arise if the elimination of our exams does occur and to offer assistance in the seeking of future solutions.

As this school year comes to a close take some time to refresh your spirit and renew your energy. It has been a trying year at best, but know that NYSAFLT is committed to maintaining high quality LOTE education in New York State.


Sue Hochmuth
NYSAFLT President