Washington, D.C. — Representative Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) introduced the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act, legislation that would help states create a State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school students graduating with proficiency in both English and a second language. Brownley sponsored similar legislation in the California State Assembly to establish the State Seal of Biliteracy in California.
“The Seal of Biliteracy not only celebrates the academic achievements of our high school students but also the incredible diversity seen throughout our country and our economy,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Learning a second language is a critical part of education that allows American students to compete with the world’s best and brightest. When a college or employer sees the Seal of Biliteracy on a diploma or resume, they know this is an individual with an important, and unique, 21st century skill.”
“The Seal of Biliteracy has worked well in California as it recognizes the importance of being multilingual,” said Cindy Marks, President of the California School Board Association. “School boards in California appreciate Rep. Brownley for proposing to take this nationwide.”
“I write in full support for the BEST Act which would establish a grant program at the Department of Education,” wrote Jan Gustafson Corea, CEO of the California Association for Bilingual Education in a letter to Congresswoman Brownley. “The BEST Act will assist in the promotion and maintenance of bilingualism and biliteracy—a significant 21st Century skill. What better way to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism and the accomplishments of our students.”
Brownley’s BEST Act would establish a grant program at the Department of Education to recognize high-level student proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in both English and a second language. Under this program, states would be able to establish or improve their own Biliteracy Seal programs to award seals to high school seniors.
As Chairwoman of the California Assembly Education Committee, Brownley sponsored legislation that established a State Seal in California. Just last year over 10,000 high school seniors participated in this program in California.