Seal of Biliteracy Hearing

Seal-of-Biliteracy-LogoThere will be a hearing on the Seal of Biliteracy bills before the Joint Committee of Education Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 10 am, Room A2  at the Massachusetts State House,

Be prepared to testify on behalf of …

  • S.311 An Act to promote global trade and economic development through biliteracy (Sponsor: Senator Karen Spilka)
  • H.285 An Act to promote global trade and economic development through biliteracy (Sponsor: Representative Kay Khan)
  • H.2045 An Act relative to the state seal of biliteracy (Sponsor: Representative Bradley Jones)

We are seeking testimony in favor of the bills, either in person or in writing. Submit written testimony to the committee co-chairs:

  • Representative Alice Peisch: Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov
  • Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz: Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov

GUIDANCE FOR ORAL TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials that tell a story about individuals are very powerful. Focus on what you know and care about. Think about what you know and have experienced and present your concerns and ideas for better solutions. (Possible Topics: Pathway Awards, Seal of Bilitearcy Pilot experience, personal experience learning a second language, personal experience using two or more languages in your job or career, personal experience as a student in a language learning program.) You have so much to offer policy conversations without having to be a data or policy expert. Plan to speak for no more than 3 minutes.

GUIDANCE FOR WRITTEN TESTIMONY

You can submit written testimony to the Chairs of the committee and cc: your State Senator and State Representative. Here is the list of names for the Joint Education Committee Chairs and members. Bring a written copy of our testimony to leave with the committee, as well. You can bring just one copy of testimony, and the staff will make copies for the Committee files, or you can bring enough for all committee members (~20) if you prefer. You can bring other visual handouts to attach with your testimony, too.

  • Limit the text to 1.5 pages
  • Include your name, address, where you work or study, what you do for work,
  • State “I am ….
  • State I am in favor of the bill S311, H285, H 2045 and this is why.
  • Pick one action point listed in the Seal of Biliteracy Talking Points and speak to that.
  • State “I recommend that bill S311, H285, H 2045 should be passed.

RESOURCES

See the Seal of Biliteracy page for resources and fact sheets.

LET US KNOW YOU ARE TESTIFYING

Please use the Contact Us page if you plan to testify or send testimony, and send us an electronic copy of your testimony so that we can post them on the Coalition blog site.

LOOK Bill Advances with Seal of Biliteracy

Language Opportunity Sketch_1.16April 18, 2017: The LOOK Bill — H.3705/S.2070 An Act for language opportunity for our kids — was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Education and and referred to the House & Senate Committees on Ways and Means.

The LOOK Bill removes the restrictive mandate requiring Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) as the “one size fits all” default English Language Learner (ELL) program model, and gives school districts the flexibility to establish programs based on the educational needs of their students. It also establishes a state Seal of Biliteracy.

Find out more…

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

Lawmakers must act to correct flaws in how we teach English learners

Letter to the Editor in support of the LOOK Bill and Seal of Biliteracy Bill from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education professor Anne Homza:

I know of no educational research or theory that supports the state’s restrictive, one-size-fits-all sheltered-English approach. In fact, there is no evidence that such a broad yet singular approach to learning would be appropriate for the education of any subgroup of students. The fact that such an approach has been applied to the subgroup of students who happen to come to school with proficiency in a language other than English is highly discriminatory.

The Boston Globe (July 17, 2015): Lawmakers must act to correct flaws in how we teach English learners

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.

Seal of Biliteracy

Support the Seal of Biliteracy in Massachusetts! Support An Act to Establish a State Seal of Biliteracy H.422/S.336 and An Act relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) H.498/S.262.

“A lot of businesses want to know, ‘Do you know Chinese? And how do I know you know?’ And you can have your certificate as verification.”

NPR: On The High School Diploma: A ‘Bilingual’ Stamp Of Approval?

A Leader for Language Opportunity

Each year, Education Week shines a spotlight on some of the nation’s most outstanding school district leaders in its Leaders To Learn From special report. This year, Richard A. Carranza, Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, has been recognized for Leadership in English-Language-Learner Education. He asks:

“Why would you not want to produce bilingual students in the public education system? It baffles the mind.”