Home Local News Pierluisi urges participation in program to boost bilingual instruction
Issued : Friday, February 24, 2012 10:45 PM
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Pierluisi urges participation in program to boost bilingual instruction

By CB Online Staff

With President Obama’s proposed budget containing funds for strengthening teachers’ professional preparation in bilingual education, Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi sees a golden opportunity for local teachers to improve the quality of the bilingual offering in island classrooms.

According to an Inter News Service report, Pierluisi urged school and private university associations on the island to submit applications for the newly created Hawkins Center for Excellence, a $40 million federal initiative and one of many in the Obama budget designed to strengthen teacher preparation.

“This program is designed to increase the number of minority educators, expanding and reforming teacher education programs,” Pierluisi said while addressing the Association of Private Colleges & Universities as a guest speaker Thursday in San Juan.

“Assuming, with hope, that Congress will allocate the necessary resources to this [program], I expect that the institutions you represent would want to seriously consider applying for participation in these programs to strengthen their teacher-preparation offering,” Pierluisi said. “The only way we will achieve a truly bilingual workforce is ensuring that all our students have an effective teacher in the classroom.”

Pierluisi reiterated that private institutions could help improve language education through research initiatives that determine the effectiveness of existing bilingual programs.

He said many school districts in the world have established a bilingual curriculum, but don’t have access to empirical data to examine which program is more effective or better for a particular population.

“Universities and institutions of postsecondary education play an important role in identifying the best strategies available and providing assistance to school districts when choosing the most effective program for their schools,” the resident commissioner said. “I urge you to collaborate with your colleagues and nearby school districts to expand the research material available on bilingual programs. Our students of today and tomorrow will undoubtedly be indebted to you for those efforts.”

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