Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Julia Brownley’s (D-CA) Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act, as part of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395).
Brownley’s legislation creates 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.
“Our national security, and our economy, rely on language proficiency,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “I am pleased that this year’s National Defense Authorization Act included the BEST Act, legislation I wrote that will serve to encourage biliteracy in education. Biliteracy skills can better prepare our students to succeed in today’s globalized, competitive economy. By ensuring states establish and carry out a Seal of Biliteracy program, we can properly equip our students with language proficiency while also better safeguarding our future national security. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure the BEST Act makes it over the finish line.”
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 250,000 high school students have graduated with this seal in California. In the 2018-2019 school year, 1,086 schools in California participated in the program. The program has also been replicated in 39 states and the District of Columbia, which have each approved and established their own statewide Seal of Biliteracy programs.