Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Congresswoman Julia Brownley’s (D-Westlake Village) Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act.
During the 113th Congress, Brownley introduced the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act to help states create or improve State Seal of Biliteracy programs that recognize high school students graduating with very high levels of proficiency in English and a second language. Brownley offered her bill as an amendment to H.R. 5, legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization.
“Getting a House vote on my bill was a very important first step, and I am pleased that we got 191 members to vote for it. Although it didn’t pass, we made progress, and I plan on reintroducing it as a stand-alone bill, and will continue to work to educate my colleagues about the Seal of Biliteracy until my bill becomes law,” said Congresswoman Brownley.
As Chairwoman of the California Assembly Education Committee, Brownley authored the California State Assembly’s act that established the State Seal of Biliteracy which has been so successful in California, the first seal of its kind in the United States. In the 2013-2014 school year, over 24,000 high school seniors in 219 school districts across California participated in this program, earning their seals for achievement in 40 different languages. In Ventura County, 525 students in 14 high schools participated.
Many other states, including New York, Illinois, and Washington, have acted to create their own Seal programs. Brownley’s amendment would build on that progress so more students in California and across the country can participate in this program.
“As businesses look to expand into overseas markets and serve a wider range of customers, and as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the demand for students with valuable language skills is increasing,” continued Brownley. “The BEST Act recognizes that fluency in a second language helps students compete in an increasingly global marketplace. The Seal helps employers, colleges, and universities distinguish talented applicants with valuable skills.”