Webinar: Bilingual and Multilingual Education for a World Class Education System in New Mexico on Jan 23, 2013

Multilingualism

New Mexico is rooted in many cultures and many languages. Over 50 percent of our students are Hispanic, and over 10 percent are Native American. Respect for our multiculturalism and multilingualism means that we must honor home languages and support learning English as a second language. For too long, too many families have been told that they should not speak their home language in schools.

Equally important, our national leaders are calling for multilingualism as a critical element for our global competitiveness.  In addition, according to an op-ed in the New York Times "Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.”

So, doesn’t it just make sense for New Mexico to draw on our assets and create an education system that produces multilingual students? Wouldn’t it be great if all New Mexico students were provided the option of earning a bilingual seal on their high school diploma (now offered in California and New York)? Wouldn’t it be an added bonus if New Mexico had the highest percentage of high school seniors earning the bilingual seal? or leading the nation in number of Advanced Placement Spanish?

Discussion: What would it mean for our education system to be designed to promote multilingualism as well as ensuring English Language Learners become fully college and career ready?

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Achievement and Equity

  • Bilingualism has always been important to the people of New Mexico. For example, see History of Language Rights and New Mexico Statehood.
  • The bilingual seal can now be earned at several New Mexico high schools including Rio Grande HS in Albuquerque high schools and Clovis HS.
  • How effective is NM in supporting students who are English Language Learners?
  • What are the different approaches for language acquisition and bilingualism?

Asset-Based Innovation: Good Stuff Happening in New Mexico

Key Organizations

Key Policies

  • New Mexico: State Bilingual Multicultural Education Act (2004)
  • Federal: Title III, English Language Acquisition (NCLB, 2001)