Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) has introduced the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act (S. 3328) into the U.S. senate. The act broadens the definition of “second language” to include Native American languages, and Classical Languages.
The BEST Act: To further promote biliteracy across the country, the BEST Act would authorize $10 million to award grants to states to establish, improve, and implement Seal of Biliteracy programs.Endorsing organizations include the Joint National Committee for Languages—National Council for Languages and International Studies,National Association for Bilingual Education, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs, and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
Seals of Biliteracy: In states and school districts, graduating seniors receive Seals of Biliteracy on their transcripts to illustrate their proficiency in two languages. Recognition of student achievement in language proficiency enable colleges and universities, as well employers, to distinguish the valuable expertise of bilingual students in both academia and the workplace.States like Utah, Arizona, Washington, and New Mexico have demonstrated the viability of testingand awarding Seals in all languages.Through innovative partnerships with communities and test makers many states provide the opportunity for all students to earn a Seal of Biliteracy. For example, Utah and Washington both offer Seals of Biliteracy in languages ranging from Spanish, to Korean, to Zuni.
“We will work with our House counterparts to replace their BEST Act language with ours in the House’s College Affordability Act,” said Schatz. The introduced bill can be seen in its entirety here.