Dallas Lawmaker Rep. Alonzo to be Honored with TESOL's 2013 Outstanding U.S. Advocate Award Friday, March 22, 2013;
~International Convention & English Language Expo To Take Place in Dallas, Wed-Sat, March 20-23 ~
AUSTIN, TX - Earlier this evening, Texas State Representative Roberto R. Alonzo received news from an international language association that he would be receiving the "TESOL's 2013 Outstanding U.S. Advocate Award," for his exemplary work in advocating for bilingual education and the rights of English language learners (ELLs) and public education in Texas. The award will be presented to Rep. Alonzo on Friday, March 22, during the general session of TESOL's four-day annual international convention which takes place at the Dallas Convention Center, from Wednesday through Saturday, March 20-23, 2013. TESOL stands for "Teaching English to Students of Other Languages." TESOL is a global association representing approximately 13,000 English language educators worldwide.
"Words cannot express how truly honored and humbled indeed I feel to be singled out by TESOL to receive this advocate award from an organization that has been advocating for and addressing the needs of English language for almost half a century, not only in the US and Texas, but internationally," said Rep. Alonzo.
"Making a quality and equitable public education accessible to all students has consistently been one of my passions since I was first elected to the Texas legislature in 1992. Most importantly, however, offering quality bilingual education programs and addressing the needs of ELL learners at all levels of schooling, regardless of zip code, family income, or language proficiency has taken center stage in my tenure as a lawmaker. I know personally and hear plenty about the obstacles many students face when they first set foot in our classrooms, especially when they come from families where English is not the primary language spoken in the home. As such, I think it is our responsibility as policymakers to help those students by providing them with the necessary instructional tools and educational programs that will help them overcome those obstacle and become productive citizens of society," continued Rep. Alonzo.
"I know that it is through the excellent advocacy efforts, hard work, and unparalleled commitment of organizations like TESOL that will help us make positive strides into the future. Moreover, the fact that as professionals, the membership of organizations like TESOL unselfishly and consistently give of themselves through research, time, and commitment to mentor and help young men and women master their language skills speaks volumes about their dedication to pave the way for a better quality of life for all ELL learners, not only in the US domestically but internationally around the globe," said Rep. Alonzo.
Since the 2003 legislative session, Rep. Alonzo has successfully secured the necessary funding to continue the Alonzo Bilingual/ESL Scholars Program at the University of North Texas - Dallas, a loan-forgiveness and scholarship program that provides financial assistance to potential teachers earn certification in bilingual education/ESL teaching. Moreover, in the past, the Dallas lawmaker has authored or co-authored various other pertinent higher education measures to attract more minority students into the engineering field; legislation to increase diversity on the Select Commission on Higher Education (SCHE); and legislation that creates the Texas Tomorrow Fund II - a scholarship/grants financial aid program, among other higher education measures. He plans to continue to fight for and keep funding for two more academic years of the 2013-2015 biennium during the
83rd Regular Session is the Roberto R. Alonzo Bilingual/ESL Education Scholars Program at the University of North Texas (UNT) - Dallas campus. This much-needed funding will make sure that this nationally-recognized teacher training program at UNT stays in place and continues to address the bilingual education teacher shortage problem in the DFW/North Texas region. The program which has been funded since the 2004-2005 school year and has collectively offered over $1.8 million dollars graduating over 150 teachers, helps both current and potential teachers gain certification in bilingual education and English-As-
A-Second Language (ESL) teaching, specifically in the DFW area where there is a shortage of such teachers. Since its initial funding, the Alonzo Scholars Program has received much praise from both the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) and the Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE) because of its success. Both organizations continue to encourage its replication in other parts of the state and nation.
In the past, the Dallas lawmaker has received similar honors for his education efforts, including the 2008 Champion of Higher Education Award from the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) and the 2008 Meritorious Service Award from the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE), among others..
Education in general, including quality bilingual education programs, higher education issues and the importance of getting a college education, have consistently been Rep. Alonzo's legislative priorities since he was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1992, at the time becoming the first Latino from the entire North Texas/DFW region elected to serve in the Texas Legislature.
Founded in 1966, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other languages, INC. (TESOL) is an international professional association with more than 13,000 members. TESOL also represents another 54,00 language specialists worldwide through its more than 90 affiliates. TESOL's mission is to develop the expertise of its members and others involved in teaching English to speakers of other languages to help them foster effective communication in diverse settings while respecting the language rights of individuals. To this end, TESOL articulates and advances standards for professional preparation and employment, continuing education, and student programs; links groups worldwide to enhance communication among language specialists; produces high-quality programs, services, publication and products, and promotes advocacy to further the profession.
Jesse R. Bernal (512-463-0408)
Adriana Flores (214-942-7104)
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