The House Committee on Appropriations has affirmed its support for implementing and providing funding for Seal of Biliteracy programs across the U.S. in its draft report for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations for fiscal year 2022.
“The Committee recognizes that State Seal of Biliteracy programs, adopted and implemented in more than 80% of the States, enrich society by encouraging bilingual and multilingual education and demonstrating to employers and higher education institutions that students have attained proficiency in English and one other language,” reads the report, according to the Joint National Committee for Languages–National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS), which advocated for the statement.
If the language remains in the final draft of the report, JNCL-NCLIS said that the organization expects that this will deliver a message to state governments and local education agencies (LEAs) that “Congress values Seal of Biliteracy programs and supports efforts to augment English learners and heritage language learners in such programs.”
While the report would not necessarily have the power of law, JNCL-NCLIS appears optimistic about Congress’s displayed support for the Seal of Biliteracy programs.
“The Committee recognizes that ELs and heritage language learners lag behind world language students in attaining seals of biliteracy,” the report continues. “To that end, the Committee is strongly supportive of LEAs using funds available under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for costs associated with seal of biliteracy benchmark proficiency assessments and final assessments for EL and heritage language learners.”
The report, which was released on July 14, includes other sections which the JNCL-NCLIS notes are victories for the group’s advocacy efforts. The report approves setting aside $3 million for the development of the Native American Language Resource Center and also includes strong support for investing in foreign language and cultural competency programs. Andrew Warner