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‘Biliteracy’ Seal On Student Diplomas Will Recognize And Reward Bilingualism

NJ Spotlight – John Mooney

“New Jersey has joined more than a dozen other states that endorse an official seal on high school graduates’ diplomas and other records that signifies they are proficient in a second language. Known as the State Seal of Biliteracy and signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie last week, the mark is aimed as a way to highlight the language abilities of thousands of New Jersey’s graduates as they enter the workforce and college…“As a career educator I recognize the great benefit to students of mastering more than one language. This is a skill that will not only help them to expand their understanding of other world regions, but will also help to provide them additional career opportunities in the future,” said Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), one of the prime sponsors of the bill.”(more)

More States and Districts Embrace Biliteracy

Education Week – Corey Mitchell

“A growing number of states and school districts are promoting bilingualism by offering special recognition for high school graduates who demonstrate fluency in languages other than English. Thirteen states now offer a “seal of biliteracy,” and at least 10 more are working toward implementing a similar award. Students in nine of the nation’s 10 largest school systems can earn statewide or district-level recognition with the seal affixed to their diplomas or transcripts as official proof that they can speak, read, and write in more than one language…Officials with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation say the growing interest in seals of biliteracy is promising if the United States wants to play a leading role in the global economy.”(more)

How More Education Could Save A Half-Million American Lives

NPR Ed – Anya Kamenetz

“Getting a high school diploma is as good for health as quitting smoking. That’s the finding from a study released Wednesday by researchers…Similarly, 110,068 deaths could be avoided for that year if every adult who already had some college finished their bachelor’s degrees. And if everyone in the population got a bachelor’s degree, the total untimely deaths would be reduced by 554,525…The connection between education levels and health has been well-documented, and, this study found, it’s growing in recent generations.”(more)

College student’s nightmare: Loan debt and no degree

USA Today – Susan Tompor

“When thinking about college debt, the big worry tends to be: Will a paycheck follow the college diploma? And will that job cover everyday bills, as well as monthly student loan payments? But as the high school graduation celebrations wind down and the borrowing for college heats up, the real question to ask should be: Will I end up with a big bunch of debt and no degree? A new report on the economic well-being of U.S. households gives an interesting glimpse on student loans and the challenges facing families. The Federal Reserve survey noted that 23% of adults currently have some education debt. In that group, about 15% had such debt for their own education; 6% had education debt for a spouse or partner; and 6% had college debt for their child’s or grandchild’s education.”(more)

What the Seal of Biliteracy Can Do for English Language Learners

Ed Central – Staff Writer

“A growing body of research has shown the potential — and considerable — cognitive, cultural, and economic benefits of bilingualism. Meanwhile, similar research is showing the potentially damaging ramifications of English-only learning for English language learners (ELLs). In a research study conducted by Ofelia Garcia, Jo Anne Kleifgen, and Lorraine Falchi for the Campaign for Educational Equity, ignoring students’ emerging bilingualism creates considerable educational inequity. For example, since few commonly-used curricula build on ELLs’ linguistic and cultural strengths, these students often begin school at an academic disadvantage. Bilingual students are often placed in remedial education that emphasizes English language acquisition at the expense of content knowledge. The Seal of Biliteracy is a step in the right direction towards recognizing the value of bilingualism and towards promoting educational equity for ELLs. It’s a relatively new campaign that seeks to support student biliteracy by recognizing students who are proficient in two or more languages by high school graduation. Students can also receive “pathway awards” along different points of language mastery.”(more)

Michigan Advances STEM Endorsement for Diplomas

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Two new bills unanimously approved by the state Senate could offer Michigan students the chance to have a special endorsement placed on their diploma if they earn enough credits in science, technology, engineering and math. The endorsement would also be a part of student transcripts for use in future technical training, community college and college application review. The endorsement would be the first of its kind in the country and supporters say it would benefit students who are working toward STEM careers in addition to boosting their college resumes.”(more)