BATON ROUGE, La. – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) are pleased to announce the United States Bureau of Consular Affairs has communicated their intention to begin processing visas for International Associate Teachers coming to work in Louisiana schools 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 critical to the state’s public education system, particularly language immersion education programs across the state for which there is a domestic shortage of highly qualified teachers. 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, immediately 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.”
Today’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 will work closely with partners to coordinate the arrival and integration of the International Associate Teachers.
The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana is a state agency in the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism tasked with the development and promotion of the French language in Louisiana. For more information on CODOFIL, visit www.codofil.org.