A coalition of Hispanic groups has recommended monitoring teachers and recruiting instructors from Latin America to reform Denver Public Schools’ bilingual program.
Several recommendations were made to the district’s board of education earlier this month as part of a plan to improve the education achievement of Hispanic students.
The Latino Education Coalition also is proposing raising the position of district bilingual director to the level of school superintendent’s cabinet post to give the position more authority over personnel and budget matters.
”The director needs to be able to go into the schools and tell them to implement an effective bilingual program,” said David Mirich, North High School bilingual teacher and student representative of the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education.
As part of the proposal, the bilingual director would monitor the personnel department’s recruitment of bilingual teachers, including those from outside the school district and in Mexico and Latin America.
Foreign teachers who lack English proficiency would be given three years to become fluent. They would be placed in Denver bilingual high school classrooms, where they would teach Spanish-speaking students.
Supporters of the bilingual program have charged that DPS has not provided financial resources to the bilingual department to carry out the duties set forth by a federal court ruling in 1984 mandating bilingual education be provided to limited English-speaking children.
Other key points recommended by the coalition include:
* Assigning a coordinator to oversee bilingual teacher hiring.
* Annually analyzing whether enough bilingual and English to Speakers of Other Languages teachers have been hired.
* Requiring principals to replace unqualified teachers.