In New Mexico, dozens of advocates, parents, educators, and tribal leaders are urging that the state Education Department allow more time to revamp the bilingual education program.
Many people with a stake in bilingual education feel that the proposed overhaul is hasty, and that more time is needed for feedback about a change which will affect thousands of students. Parents and others have voiced fear that the changes would diminish student’s choices and threaten the continuation of dual language immersion.
The decision by the New Mexico Public Education Department to eliminate two of the five program models has caused great outcry among parents and Native American communities. During a public hearing, some tribal officials accused the education department of violating state law. Native parents described their children’s efforts to learn their tribal language with great emotion, and Spanish speaking parents noted how their children have thrived because of bilingual education.
New Mexico has a high population of Native Americans and Spanish speaking immigrants. The issue is particularly important to the state’s pueblos and tribes who strive to preserve their Native languages.