Boston, MA (May 3, 2018) The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) is pleased to announce that the Language Opportunity Coalition has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Nonprofit Excellence Award in Advocacy. The Excellence Awards will be presented at MNN’s annual celebration of Nonprofit Awareness Day: A Celebration of Nonprofit Excellence presented by Citizens Bank, a statewide holiday that highlights the work of the nonprofit sector and raises awareness of causes throughout Massachusetts presented by Citizens Bank, at the Massachusetts State House on Monday, June 4.
“The Nonprofit Excellence Awards honor the important work being done by nonprofits in every subsector and region of Massachusetts,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. “We are excited to celebrate the effectiveness and diversity of these impressive finalists and the dedication and impact of the 33,000 nonprofits and more than half a million nonprofit employees in Massachusetts.”
The Excellence Award in Advocacy recognizes a nonprofit organization whose work has resulted in significant progress on a public policy or awareness issue in the last two years. The Language Opportunity Coalition was founded to bring together diverse organizations in Massachusetts to increase language learning opportunities for learning English, native, heritage, and world languages, and to ensure that all learners have equal access to a high-quality education and professional opportunities. The Coalition advocated for the expansion of bilingual program options for English learners through the LOOK Act, and opportunities for all students to pursue language study with the Seal of Biliteracy. The Coalition also coordinated the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project from 2014-2018, prior to approval by the state legislature.
The LOOK Act with the Seal of Biliteracy was signed into state law on November 22, 2017, representing a major victory for the Coalition and bilingual education advocates across Massachusetts.
“We are honored to receive this recognition on behalf of the educators and stakeholders who collaborated in the work of this Coalition,” said Helen Solorzano, Steering Committee Member of the Language Opportunity Coalition. “We hope that this recognition will help spread the word about the Seal of Biliteracy, the value of multilingualism, and the opportunities for language learning in our public schools.”
This year, MNN’s independent panel of nonprofit and business leaders reviewed over 150 Excellence Award nominations that highlighted the incredible work of nonprofits across the state. The finalists range from large education providers to small arts organizations. These 27 nonprofits and individuals are improving communities across the Commonwealth, representing every region of Massachusetts from the Berkshires to the Cape. One finalist from each category (Advocacy, Collaboration, Innovation, Leadership, Small Nonprofit, and Young Professionals) will be announced as a winner during the Nonprofit Awareness Day: A Celebration of Nonprofit Excellence event presented by Citizens Bank on Monday, June 4.
Nonprofits across the state will also be engaging in a social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram leading up to June 4 using hashtag #MAkingadifference to highlight their unique contributions to their communities.
The Language Opportunity Coalition strongly objects to the proposed regulation 603 CMR 31.07 that establishes the award criteria for the State Seal of Biliteracy.We ask the Board of Education not to approve the regulation in the current form.
The proposed award criteria do not follow national guidelines for proficiency levels for the Seal of Biliteracy.
The proposed award criteria for English proficiency based solely on 10th grade ELA MCAS scores will inequitably exclude English learners, former English learners, and other students.
The proposed award criteria do not allow English Learners the same amount of time to develop language proficiency as world language learners: Proficiency in English has to be demonstrated in 10th grade, while proficiency in a world language does not need to be demonstrated until 12th grade.
The proposed award criteria do not implement the multi-tiered award structure developed by the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project to promote and reward long term and sustained language study.
The award criteria defined for the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project (2014-18) were designed to be a motivational and inclusive award that recognizes the language attainment of as many students as possible. Our goal in supporting establishment of the Seal of Biliteracy is to 1) support and reward long-term and sustained language study of English, native languages, and world languages, and 2) recognize and reward the linguistic assets that multilingual students bring to our schools. The proposed regulations will exclude many students, especially students whose native language is not English.
The LOOK Act requires that the Department consider national standards and the local work of the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project in developing criteria for the award. Massachusetts is in a unique position because we can learn both from the local three-year Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project and from emerging research on implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy nationally. We ask that the Department consult with the Language Opportunity Coalition and members of the Seal of Biliteracy Pilot Project to revise the regulations to ensure equity and opportunity for all students pursuing language study.
The public comment period is open on the proposed regulations for the LOOK Act. The proposed changes include the proposal requirement for establishing an alternative EL program, EL Parent Advisory Councils, criteria for the Seal of Biliteracy, draft requirements for the Bilingual Education Endorsement, and SEI Endorsement for Vocational Technical teachers and changes to voc-tech licensure requirements. It is important that educators of English learners provide input. This webinar will give an overview of the new regulations and provide instructions on how to comment.
Presented by the Language Opportunity Coalition and MTA
WEBINAR LOOK Act Regulations – Public Comment 101: How to provide input on proposed regulations Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 4:00 PM
The public comment period on the LOOK Act is open until May 18. The proposed changes include the proposal requirement for establishing an alternative EL program, EL Parent Advisory Councils, criteria for the Seal of Biliteracy, requirements for the Bilingual Education Endorsement, and SEI Endorsement for Vocational Technical teachers and changes to voc-tech licensure requirements.
We urge all stakeholders to review the proposed regulations and comment!
Note: Public comments are public documents. All submitted comments can be, and are often, released to the public. Avoid using professional title, organization or affiliation unless you have approval.
Curious about the history and origins of the Seal of Biliteracy? This podcast describes the development of the Seal of Biliteracy in California and how the initiative spread across the country (including Massachusetts).
America the Bilingual Podcast – Episode 15: Sealed con un Beso
He was rich, persuasive — and wrong. But Ron Unz succeeded in leading our most populous state down a dark path in the history of language education. Fortunately, his very success planted the seeds of change that are yielding a harvest of good in the nation today. Hear the origin story of the Seal of Biliteracy, which began in California and is now transforming America.
Something new in America: honoring bilingualism
The Seal of Biliteracy is a seal that high school seniors can earn on their diplomas and transcripts after demonstrating written and oral proficiency in English plus another language. In the five years since its creation in California, the Seal of Biliteracy has been adopted by a majority of US states.
The organization behind the innovation is Californians Together. Says Executive Director Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, “This is a not-very-labor-intensive reform movement that has captured the imagination and spread in a way that other education reform initiatives have not.”