• February 3rd, 2023
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Gov. Signs Bill to Increase Native American Language Educators Pay


 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation on March 3rd, requiring those who teach Native American language and culture in New México public schools to be paid the same as entry-level teachers.

 

House Bill 60, sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lente, establishes the minimum pay for teachers who hold Native American culture and language certificates as equal to what Level 1 teachers earn. After the governor signed Senate Bill 1 on March 1st, that minimum is now $50,000 a year.

 

“New México is a state that honors and respects its heritage, and the eight native languages spoken here are a testament to that,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “The teachers who carry on this integral piece of the culture and history of so many in our state deserve to be paid as the educational professionals they are.”

 

“It’s past time to provide pay parity for our Native American language and culture teachers,” Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said. “We’ve promised to provide New México students with a culturally responsive education, and that requires teachers who are deeply immersed in language and traditions that we stand to lose without their participation. This legislation should tell those individuals that we value them and the knowledge they bring to our classrooms.”

 

Language is who we are. Language is the key to our cultural survival. The signing of House Bill 60 represents the remarkable perseverance and resilience of generations of our people who were never willing to compromise these gifts of our Creator. Today is a historic moment in our history and our journey as Indigenous people.”
Rep. Derrick Lente

 

The Public Education Department issues certificates to individuals deemed by their pueblo, tribe or nation to be a Native American language and culture specialist. There are currently 155 certificate holders throughout the state. Previously, there was no state-required minimum salary for these language and culture teachers.

 

“Language is who we are. Language is the key to our cultural survival,” said Rep. Derrick Lente, the bill’s author. “The signing of House Bill 60 represents the remarkable perseverance and resilience of generations of our people who were never willing to compromise these gifts of our Creator. Today [March 3] is a historic moment in our history and our journey as Indigenous people.”

 

“The Public Education Department is committed to providing students a culturally and linguistically responsive education because we know that fosters academic success,” said Lashawna Tso, the department’s assistant secretary for Indian Education. “This investment in those who teach Indigenous languages is a strong step toward realizing the education vision our tribal communities have been asking for.”

 

Eight Native American languages are spoken in New México: Tiwa, Tewa, Keres, Towa, Zuni, Navajo, Mescalero Apache and Jicarilla Apache.

 

 

For More New México News: ELSEMANARIO.US