California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson recently met with Mexico’s Secretary of Education Aurelio Nuño Mayer to promote closer ties, expand teacher exchange programs and help serve students if their parents are deported.
“The national political atmosphere at this time makes it especially important to reiterate the bonds of friendship between California and Mexico,” Torlakson said. “Our goal for this trip is to deepen our friendship, build stronger ties and create closer cooperation between educators in California and Mexico.”
Torlakson leads the nation’s largest public education system, with more than 6.2 million students at 10,000 schools. Approximately 54 percent of California students are Latino, and nearly 1.4 million are English learners.
“It is critical that we work together to provide support to students who end up attending schools in both California and Mexico so they are not left behind and can receive a world-class education,” Torlakson added. “There are many terrific examples of how California and Mexico can both help educators build and expand their professional development and skills.”
California has a Binational Migrant Education Exchange Program, which partners nearly 60 teachers from Mexico with California educators to assist students in migrant families. The program has expanded to include nearly double the number of teachers from Mexico two years ago.
Torlakson said the demand for bilingual teachers is growing after California voters last year passed Proposition 58, which removed limitations on bilingual and multilingual instruction. He encouraged Mexican officials to host more California teachers to help them improve Spanish-language skills.
Additionally, Torlakson urged California school districts to declare themselves “Safe Havens” to show that students and their families are safe at school. For information, visit cde.ca.gov.