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More Immigrants, Fewer English Classes

January 23, 2012
Plain English Version

The number of immigrants in New York State is increasing. However, enrollment in classes to learn English is going down.

Between 2005 and 2009, there was a 6 percent rise in adults who speak English “less than very well.” The enrollment in classes for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) went down by 17 percent.

In New York City, the number of adults needing instruction increased by 3 percent; enrollment went down by 6 percent.

The demand for classes is rising. At a program in the Bronx, the director said there was a waiting list of 300 people for 110 available places. According to a study, relative financial support for ESOL classes in NY has gone down every year since 1995.

Experts say reduced funding for ESOL means fewer people ready to join the job market and fewer able to start a new business.

The Wall Street Journal

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