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Community Digest

Long Beach : New Policy Promises Equal Schooling for Immigrants

January 10, 1991

Long Beach Unified School District board members agreed this week to provide non-English-speaking students "equal access to the curriculum," but Latino leaders said the move will be meaningless unless board members consider paying bilingual teachers more money.

"They need to put their money where their mouth is," said Jerome Torres, chairman of the Hispanic Advisory Committee.

The board Monday adopted its first policy statement regarding its growing non-English-speaking enrollment. The policy states that the district's goal is for non-English-speaking students to achieve academic success, proficiency in English, multicultural awareness and a positive self-image.

Latino leaders said they did not object to the statement itself, but criticized a tentative contract agreement between the district and the teachers' union. The agreement does not include an additional stipend for bilingual teachers. Latino leaders have long argued that to attract bilingual teachers, the district needs to pay them more.

The board is scheduled to vote next month on a new contract between the district and the Teachers Assn. of Long Beach, which would give all teachers an 8% raise in 1991-92 and another 8% increase in 1992-93.

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