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June 5, 2002

SBE Announces Public Hearings on New Bilingual Regulations

(Santa Fe, NM)- The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) announced today public hearings on proposed new regulations that will change how districts administer their Bilingual Education programs. The new regulation, if approved, will repeal the current Guidelines for Implementing Bilingual Multicultural Education Programs, Title 6, Chapter 32, Part 2. Three meetings will occur, giving the public a chance to voice final comments. The SBE will consider the regulation on June 21.

The first meeting will be held on June 6, from 1:30-3:30 p.m., in the Bernalillo Public Schools Media Center, 250 Isidro Sanchez Road, in the high school. The second meeting will occur on June 7, from 10:00-noon, in the Clovis Public Schools Administration Building, 1009 Main Street; and the third meeting will occur on June 12, from 2:00-4:00 p.m., in the Public Schools Central Office, 505 South Main Street, Suite 249 Loretto Towne Centre, Las Cruces.

The new regulation, according to Dr. Gladys Herrera-Gurule, director of the Bilingual Education unit in the New Mexico State Department of Education, will give districts more flexibility in choosing among the five existing models of bilingual instruction, but it will also hold districts accountable for results. Under the new regulation, if progress is not shown, funding could be withdrawn.

Districts will have to show longitudinal data, showing documented progress in English, the home language and academic achievement. "We want to see the numbers," said Dr. Herrera-Gurule. "We have to have that longitudinal data to measure results, so that every program is aligned with New Mexico's content standards and benchmarks and Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act."

Requirements for eligibility, instruction and assessment of students are addressed in the proposed regulation, as are professional development of teachers and evaluation and renewal of programs.

"The new regulation will greatly enhance our Bilingual programs in New Mexico," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis. "The point of Bilingual Education is to teach students how to read and conceptualize in more than one language, and we can't know if we're succeeding, unless we have data over time. This is a very exciting development."