DiDomenico’s Bill to Expand Language Opportunities for Students Signed into Law

December 22, 2017
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Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed into law Sen. Sal DiDomenico’s bill that updates the existing statute relative to English language education in the Commonwealth’s public schools. An Act relative to language opportunity for our kids, also known as the LOOK bill, promotes research-based, best practices for programs serving English learners (EL).

“As the Senate sponsor of this legislation for many years, I was very proud to see this bill signed into law” said Senator DiDomenico. “This legislation takes crucial strides towards guaranteeing every student receives a fair opportunity at educational success, and I have no doubt this bill will help to improve educational outcomes for all of our students, especially our schools’ English learners. We have worked very hard over the years to pass this bill, and I would like to thank my fellow conference committee members, staff, and the many advocates who helped to make this day possible.”

This bill expands on the current mandate requiring schools to use Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) by giving schools the flexibility to establish programs based on the diverse needs of their students. Under this legislation, school districts can maintain current SEI programming or choose to implement an alternative instructional program that meets federal and state standards.

Recognizing bilingualism and biliteracy as valuable strengths for students in a 21st century world, this legislation establishes a state Seal of Biliteracy. The seal will be awarded by participating school districts to students who have attained a high level of proficiency in English, and one or more foreign languages.

This bill was passed unanimously by the Senate and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority (155-1) in the House on Nov. 15, 2017.