Florida Legislature Addresses Bilingual Students

multilingual-456774_1280From Rosa Castro Feinberg

Many of our students speak more than one language.  There are two bills in the Florida legislature that may affect them.

Some states recognize their achievement.  Some recognize that being equally proficient in different languages is difficult.

What can or should Florida do?  You can make your voice heard.

There are two legislative bills pending that upon amendment at their first committee meetings will include:

  1. authorization for a State Seal of Biliteracy to be affixed to high school diplomas for students who demonstrate proficiency in English and in an additional language.  This State seal, already adopted in eight other states, will provide an incentive for students to excel in their language studies and promote the advantages of biliteracy for school officials and the general public.
  2. an additional alternative assessment in the home language for ESOL students who have met all other requirements for high school graduation except for passing the English Language Arts test.

The bills are HB 855, sponsored by Rep.Victor Torres (D, Orlando) and Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D, Miami), and  SB 1524, sponsored by Sen. David Simmons (R, Altamonte Springs).

The next step in the legislative process is to make sure that these bills are included on the committee calendars for a hearing.  To help reach this goal, please call Representative Adkins and Senator Legg.  Their contact information follows below.

The voice message function works after hours and weekends for both Sen. Legg and Rep. Adkins. Please call to request that the bills be heard and that someone get back to you with the date the bill will be heard. Leave your name, titles, organizations, and phone number. Call ASAP. Time is running out for committee meetings.

Sen.Legg: (850) 487-5017 PLEASE ADD SB 1524 TO THE COMMITTEE CALENDAR.

Rep. Adkins:  (850) 717-5011 PLEASE ADD HB 855 TO THE COMMITTEE CALENDAR.

Feel free to distribute this information to others interested in accountability reform for ESOL students and in supporting biliteracy for all students who choose to pursue that goal.

Posted in ESOL, Florida.


    • While the League has no official position on programs for bilingual students, we do try to provide information on current legislation affecting our public schools.

      • Ok. Thank you for providing information on current legislation affecting our public schools that would provide additional reform in accountability policy for students in ESOL programs and support quality education in multiple language for all students who care to pursue that goal.

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