The article “Utah schools set an example in dual language immersion” highlighted the lack of support for language education, including bilingual, dual language, and world language programs, in Massachusetts. As the article points out, both English-language learners and native English speakers benefit from these programs, and the community benefits by developing a workforce with the bilingual skills to participate in the 21st-century global economy.
Massachusetts has the opportunity to promote language education programs that foster bilingualism and biliteracy by approving the Look bill (an act relative to language opportunity for our kids), which would give school districts the flexibility to establish language acquisition programs based on the educational needs of their English-language learner students, and the Seal of Biliteracy bill, which would recognize high school graduates who speak, read, and write in English and another, second language.
Massachusetts must take action to become a leader in language education, or our students will soon be left behind.
The writers are members of the Massachusetts Language Opportunity Coalition.