Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) reintroduced the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act. The bill establishes a federal grant program to help states create and implement a Seal of Biliteracy program that encourages and recognizes high school students who achieve proficiency in both English and at least one other language to better enable young people to compete in the global workforce.
“With graduation season underway, it is an important time for students to think about their future and how biliteracy can better prepare them with 21st Century skills that will benefit them tremendously in their future academic and professional careers,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Being proficient in two or more languages can be a critical advantage in today’s globalized, competitive economy. America must do more to ensure our young people obtain strong multilingual education. By helping states establish and carry out a Seal of Biliteracy program, we can properly equip our students with language proficiency so they can succeed in today’s global workforce.”
California’s State Seal of Biliteracy program was first established in 2011 when legislation sponsored by then-Assemblywoman Brownley was signed into law. Since then, over 200,000 high school students have graduated with this seal in California. In the 2017-2018 school year, 995 schools in California participated in the program. The program has also been replicated in 36 states and the District of Columbia, which have each approved and established their own statewide Seal of Biliteracy programs.
The BEST Act is co-sponsored by Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Jim Langevin (D-RI) and supported by the Joint National Committee for Languages – National Council for Languages and International Studies, National Association for Bilingual Education, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, Californians Together, and California Language Teachers’ Association.