Grant Funds More Bilingual Teachers

$1 million awarded to UNM for training

More teachers may be available soon to meet the state’s need for bilingual instructors, thanks to a $1 million grant from the federal Department of Education.

The grant, awarded to the University of New Mexico, will be used to fund scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students so they can study bilingual education and teach at either the elementary or secondary level, said Leroy Ortiz, director of UNM’s Multicultural Education Center.

“There has been a rapidly growing increase in the number of students who speak languages other than English,” Ortiz said. “Our program will be training teachers to respond to those demographic needs.”

Albuquerque Public Schools recently negotiated an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education after APS was found to be violating the civil rights of some students who don’t speak English. If the district fails to fix the problem, it could lose federal funding.

Part of the problem, APS officials said, has been difficulty in attracting bilingual teachers trained in languages other than Spanish.

The UNM grant will be used to train teachers from around the state in Spanish, Navajo or pueblo languages, said Ortiz, who’s also director of the College of Education’s Division of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies.

The grant will fund 40 scholarships, including tuition, a stipend, fees, books and travel allowances, Ortiz said. The application deadline is Oct. 20, and the program will begin in January.

For more information, write to Ortiz, College of Education — SSC B26, UNM, Albuquerque, N.M., 87131.

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