More States and Districts Embrace Biliteracy

Thirteen states now offer a “seal of biliteracy,” and at least 10 more are working toward implementing a similar award. Students in nine of the nation’s 10 largest school systems can earn statewide or district-level recognition with the seal affixed to their diplomas or transcripts as official proof that they can speak, read, and write in more than one language.

Education Week: More States and Districts Embrace Biliteracy

Massachusetts falls farther behind in language education

LANGUAGE word cloud, education business conceptAs dual-language programs are added around the country, Massachusetts falls farther behind in promoting language education:

School leaders in New York City, the nation’s largest district, are expanding their dual-language offerings beyond Spanish and Mandarin to include Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, and Haitian Creole.

The Houston school district opened an Arabic-language school this year, in part because the metropolitan region has seen its Arabic-speaking population spike in recent years.

And in the Westminster, Calif., schools, the state’s first Vietnamese dual-language program opened in Little Saigon, a Vietnamese enclave in Orange County.

Education Week: Districts Diversify Languages Offered in Dual-Immersion

Webinar: The Benefits of Dual-Language Learning

White House Task Force on New Americans Offers Fourth of Educational and Linguistic Integration Webinar Series, on “The Benefits of Dual-Language Learning,”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 2–3 p.m.

This webinar—co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA)—explores the growing body of evidence suggesting that dual-language learners—those who are exposed to more than one language during the course of their development—have cognitive, meta-cognitive, and socio-emotional advantages over children who were exposed to only one language. Among immigrants, higher levels of English fluency and skill are also correlated with higher levels of education and longer residency in the United States. Panelists will share current research and promising practices for promoting biliteracy and increasing English proficiency in immigrant communities.

The webinar link will soon be posted on the webinar series page of OELA’s website, where you can also find materials from past webinars.

Ask Your Representative to Support the World Languages Advancement Act (WLAA)

alert

Representatives Price (D-NC-4), Lance (R-NJ-7), Crowley (D-NY-14) and Young (R-AK-at large) have introduced the World Language Advancement Act (WLAA), a bipartisan piece of legislation that retains a vitally important, cost-effective program to ensure access to high-quality and innovative world language programming in America’s schools.

The amendment retains a vitally important, cost-effective program to ensure access to high-quality world language programming in America’s schools. The ECAA does not provide for world language programming, depriving the Federal Government of its programmatic ability to signal the importance of world languages to SEAs and LEAs.

American youth deserve to be globally competitive. Knowledge of another language, in addition to English, confers a wide range of benefits on the individual:

  • improved literacy in English, as evidenced by achievement test scores;
  • a greater likelihood of attending and finishing college, across all groups but especially for ELLs and lower SES groups;
  • higher lifelong earnings;
  • lifetime cognitive benefits, such as delaying the onset of symptoms of dementia.

Please write to your Representative asking for support for this important legislation. Your support and action are vital to our collective efforts to ensure that World Language programs remain funded by the US Department of Education. See the American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages website: http://capwiz.com/actfl/issues/alert/?alertid=67181626#sthash.nNWhHKbW.dpuf 

Include bilingual instruction for all students in ESEA reauthorization

A commentary in Education Week supporting expanded bilingual education in ESEA reauthorization:

While employers are clamoring for bilingual or even multilingual employees for an increasingly globalized economy, U.S. schools turn out relatively few students who are even somewhat competent in a second language. Hard figures are unavailable, but we know that only 5 percent of the 4.2 million Advanced Placement exams given in 2014 were in a foreign language, and only slightly more than half these students scored a 4 or a 5. That’s about 100,000 students—about six-tenths of 1 percent of the country’s nearly 16 million high school students. Most egregiously, instead of maintaining and building on the home-language abilities of 11 million students in our public schools, we actually attempt to quash them, if only by neglect.

Education Week: Congress: Bilingualism Is Not a Handicap

Happy Graduation!

Congratulations to the students around the country who graduated from high school with a Seal of Biliteracy — Let’s make this possible for Massachusetts students as well!

  • Illinois: Nearly 800 Illinois students in Class of 2015 graduate with the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy
  • New Jersey: Washington Township High School was one of 12 school districts in New Jersey that participated in a pilot program that recognizes students for biliteracy — an honor that is aimed at giving students a competitive edge upon high school graduation.
  • California: The Napa Valley Unified School District recognized 137 high school graduates who attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English with a Seal of Biliteracy.

See more at SealofBiliteracy.org.