Respect Equality

New Mexico House unanimously passes bill to increase pay for Indigenous language teachers

In this image from video, New Mexico State Rep. Derrick Lente speaks on the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via Associated Press)

Story at a glance

  • The New Mexico House unanimously voted to pass the bill HB-60 on Friday.
  • The bill would make teachers who hold certifications in “Native language and cultures” eligible for higher salaries.
  • The bill aims to further aid in preserving Indigenous cultures.

The New Mexico House unanimously voted to pass a bill increasing the salaries of Indigenous language teachers on Friday. 

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. 


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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.”  


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