AATSP President’s Message
It is my pleasure to continue to give you information
related to our 97th AATSP conference theme – Meeting the Needs of a
Changing Profession. As of April 15,
2015, The SB-267 Biliteracy Bill passed the Indiana House Floor with a 95-0
vote. This bill is now ready to be
signed by Indiana Governor Michael Pence.
High School students would receive a Certificate of Biliteracy and a notation
on the transcript that would recognize proficiency in English and another
language. Indiana AATSP President and
Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Advocacy Chair Israel Fernando Herrera is to
be congratulated for his work on behalf of this legislation.
It is gratifying to see that the
legislators see the value of learning world languages and promoting
multicultural and multilingual education.
Proficiency in one or more languages is an asset in political, social,
and economic contexts and in expanding trade with other countries. The demand
for employees to be fluent in more than one language is increasing throughout
the world. Employers see the need to be
fluent in more than one language to better serve the needs of customers and
Are you wondering now – Does my state recognize the Seal of Biliteracy? Currently the following states approve the
Seal of Biliteracy: California,
Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Washington. States where the Seal of Biliteracy are under
consideration are: Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia. The following states are in the early stages
of consideration: Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and
When and where did this begin? An
organization in California – Californians Together developed the concept in
2008. Californians Together is a
coalition of teachers, parents and education advocates committed to equal
access to quality education of all children. In 2011 California passed legislation to
establish a state seal of Bilitercy.
What is the seal? The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes high school graduates
who have achieved a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading and writing
in one or more foreign languages. The gold seal is affixed to the diploma or
transcript of a graduating senior.
College admissions and future employers see this as a mark of
achievement. Some school districts are
awarding Bilingual Pathway Awards which recognize bilingual progress from
Preschool up to the high school. The
Seal of Biliteracy is not just for English learners mastering a second
language. Students learning English as a
second language and developing proficiency in their home language are eligible
for the seal.
Some of the criteria to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy are: fulfillment of the English language
requirements at the high school level; demonstrating language proficiency by
passing one of the following exams: the
AP test with a 3.0 or 4.0; passing a
school language exam; passing the International Baccalaureate (IB)exam with a 4
or higher; passing a four year high
school world language course with an average of 3.0 or higher ; achieving a
score of 600 or more on the Scholastic Aptitude Test II; passing the Spanish
DELE exam; or passing a test based on the ACTFL guidelines such as the ACTFL
OPI with a score of Intermediate – Low or higher.
We are all happy for the state of Indiana and thankful to Israel Herrera and
others for their work on behalf of foreign languages.
Elaine H. Davis
2015 AATSP President