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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU professor appointed to NCTE anti-racism committee

New Mexico State University associate professor Anita Hernandez will serve as a member of the Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English for the National Council of Teachers of English.

Hernandez, who teaches reading, language arts and bilingual literacy courses for future teachers and graduate students, received the appointment after being a member of NCTE for more than 10 years and serving on the NCTE's Latino Caucus.

"For me, it is important because it allows me to be active in a professional organization in a meaningful way that is also directly related to my position here at NMSU," Hernandez said.

The committee's responsibility is to investigate and make recommendations to the NCTE executive committee to counteract racism and racial bias in teaching materials, methods and programs for English and language arts.

"The committee has been helping the executive board identify the bias and racism within the conference and its programs," Hernandez said.

During her appointment, Hernandez said she hopes to make recommendations about standardized tests that are only administered in English because it does not accurately represent what many children know in dual-language programs. She will also address the ethnic studies programs in Arizona, specifically in Tucson where many of the books and all of the curriculum in the Mexican American Studies program have been banned and taken from the classrooms.

Within the NCTE, Hernandez said she will also try to open the NCTE database "National Gallery of Writing" to feature pieces written in multiple languages so it will "be representative of what children, youth and adults write." Currently the gallery only features pieces written in English.

Hernandez is currently the Don and Sarah Kidd Chair in Literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within the College of Education. She was also the project director for a national professional development program for teachers of English learners and has coordinated a college migrant program for children of farm working families.

She will serve a three-year term beginning in November at the 2012 Annual Convention and ending at the 2015 convention in Minneapolis.

The National Council of Teachers of English has approximately 50,000 individual and institutional members worldwide and dedicates itself to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. For more information, visit www.ncte.org.