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Bilingual Education Column

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Rita Esquival, director of obemla, told a nabe audience that greeted her with a standing ovation that her decision to hold the training institute at the same time and place as the nabe conference reflects the desire of Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos to strengthen his department's contacts with practitioners in the field.

Ms. Esquival said she began making plans with Rodolfo L. Chavez, nabe's president, to hold the events together soon after she took office last year.

Several conference participants said the arrangement enabled them to use Title VII funds to travel to Tucson to participate in various nabe sessions and social events while also receiving obemla training and technical assistance for operating their Title VII programs.

The bilingual-education association published the training institute's schedule in its conference guide and placed marks next to nabe events that obemla and nabe officials agreed would be of interest to training-institute participants.

The presence of the Title VII trainees appeared to help boost attendance at the nabe conference. Approximately 3,800 people registered for the conference--up significantly from 2,200 in 1988 and 1,900 in 1989--and about 1,100 were taking part in the training institute as well, said nabe's executive director, James J. Lyons. He noted, however, that about half of the training-institute participants could have been expected to attend the nabe conference on their own.

Nabe and obemla had regularly held their annual events together until 1983, when the practice was stopped under the Reagan Administration.


Leticia Quezada, the first Latino elected to serve on the Los Angeles Board of Education, told an audience of nabe conference participants of a novel way she has found to get the parents of Hispanic language-minority students involved in school-related politics--and thus boost support for bilingual-education programs. She simply insists that the board have a Spanish interpreter present at all of its public meetings.

As proof of the ploy's effectiveness, Ms. Quezada said pressure from language-minority parents recently was instrumental in getting district officials and the leadership of the United Teachers of Los Angeles to agree to let the district offer bilingual teachers a $5,000 stipend.--p.s.

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