Visas for international associate teachers coming to work in Louisiana schools may soon begin processing.
On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) announced that the United States Bureau of Consular Affairs has communicated their intention to begin processing visas for those teachers to work during the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
Presidential Proclamation 10052 of June 22, 2020, established certain restrictions on employment-based visas for foreign nationals in an effort to protect American workers following the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This proclamation restricted the arrival in Louisiana of 73 International Associate Teachers, particularly language immersion education programs across the state for which there is a domestic shortage of qualified teachers.
According to a release, an estimated 2,000 Louisiana public school students would be impacted by the absence of these teachers. CODOFIL, in collaboration with partners at the local, state, national, and international levels, began pursuing an exemption from the proclamation for the affected teachers.
“This is a wonderful development accomplished through the hard work of so many people. We are always fortunate to have these teachers in our state, helping connect our students to the rich heritage of the French culture here in Louisiana,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “I want to thank everyone for their dedication in continuing this program through these trying times. This would not have been possible without the dedication and support of our Francophone partners around the world.”
According to COCOFIL, Wednesday's communication indicates an exception in the national interest may be granted for existing exchange programs with a bilateral agreement, or for specialized teachers in accredited educational institutions. While approval for these exceptions rests with U.S. embassies and consulates in affected areas, the exceptions apply broadly to Louisiana’s International Associate Teachers and signal progress in ensuring these teachers will be able to work in Louisiana in the upcoming school year.
Annually, CODOFIL works closely with the Louisiana Department of Education to coordinate the recruitment and management of the International Associate Teachers program.
"I'm pleased by this positive development. The Louisiana Department of Education will continue to cooperate with our various stakeholders to help assure these invaluable programs remain an option for our children and families,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “Louisiana has a rich heritage founded on diverse cultures. Our immersion programs honor that heritage, while exposing our children to a world of opportunities."
CODOFIL continues to monitor developments concerning these visas, and says they will work closely with partners to coordinate the arrival and integration of the International Associate Teachers.
The Department of Eduction says that the teachers recruited by the State of Louisiana through either the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) or LDOE will qualify for the newest exception to Presidential Proclamations 9993 and 10052.
This exception will secure the admission of 70 teachers (49 teachers of French; 21 teachers of Spanish) to travel to Louisiana for the 2020-2021 school year.
According to LDOE, the teachers will provide world language instruction in immersion and early world languages programs in 16 school systems across the state. School systems can anticipate welcoming these new International Associate Teachers in the early fall.
"I'm pleased by this positive development. The Louisiana Department of Education will continue to cooperate with our various stakeholders to help assure these invaluable programs remain an option for our children and families," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. "Louisiana has a rich heritage founded on diverse cultures. Our immersion programs honor that heritage, while providing our children a world of opportunities."
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