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11 teachers delayed from starting at APS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Eleven teachers from the Philippines who were expected to start with Albuquerque Public Schools before the winter holidays, have been delayed in their arrival – leaving nearly a dozen of classrooms without those educators.

Albuquerque Public Schools offices in Uptown. (Albuquerque Journal)

APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta said the teachers didn’t arrive due to offices in Manila closing for the holidays.

“There are 11 teachers that did not get here before Christmas, but we were told by the recruitment agency that the offices in Manila were closed between Dec. 20 and 27 for holiday and because of that there was a delay in getting exit interviews in Manila at the U.S. Embassy,” Armenta wrote in an email on Monday.

Peter Perkins, who is in charge of logistics and placement at recruitment agency Teach Quest, confirmed that consular services, including interviews required from these teachers coming from the Philippines, were affected recently.

“From what I know, there was some interruption of that,” he told the Journal on the phone Monday.

Neither Perkins nor Armenta could say whether the federal government shutdown contributed to the delay.

Calls from the Journal to the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines were not returned.

APS was aiming to have the 11 Filipino teachers in the classroom before Christmas for training purposes. Now, after the delay, the teachers are expected to come to the district by sometime next week.

In July, APS had hired 58 teachers from the Philippines to help with a teacher shortage, which is occurring across the state and nationwide.

As of the new year, APS had offered jobs to 90 teachers from the Philippines with plans to hire more in the future.

There’s been pushback on the recruitment process of the Filipino teachers as many give up to 10 percent of their salaries to recruitment agencies. When coming to APS, the teachers also have to pay for their license, transportation to the states and visa costs, according to the district.

At a recent APS Board of Education meeting, member Lorenzo Garcia called the Filipino teacher recruitment initiative “exploitative” and compared it to indentured servitude.