A bill that would help preserve Native languages and fairly compensate teachers who hold a Native American Language Certificate passed the New Mexico House of Representatives last month with a unanimous vote.
The bill, HB-60, would make teachers who hold certifications in “Native language and cultures” eligible for higher salaries, known as a level two license salary. Level two licensed teachers typically have a starting salary of $50,000 per year.
The New Mexico bill would also allow tribes and pueblos to create the criteria that determines the “proficiency criteria and renewal procedures” for the certifications. The bill aims to further aid in preserving Indigenous cultures.
“Without language, culture does not survive. Native languages must be respected, honored and preserved,” bill sponsor Rep. Derrick Lente (D) said in a press release. “Teachers of these languages must receive fair compensation for their important contributions.”
The bill now moves over to the Senate.