The 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature proved significant to public education as more than 100 bills were passed. Among them was HB5 that included a measure authored by State Representative Roberto Alonzo of Dallas, on the “State Seal of Biliteracy” which recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. House Bill 5 was signed by Governor Rick Perry on May 10. Multilingual students now have an increased motivation to pursue the mastery of multiple languages as they seek to become competitive post-graduation to potential employers.
“As we move into a rapidly growing, technologically-filled, globally-competitive, and diverse international economy, it becomes more apparent that our graduates from both high school and institutions of higher learning will have to be better equipped and ready to face the challenges that come with those changes. One of the best ways for our students to be prepared is to be bilingual, biliterate and proficient in languages other than English if they are to be able and ready to compete in the job market for the best-paying and competitive jobs. This legislation proposes to help address those challenges,” said Rep. Alonzo.
Although HB 921, Alonzo’s original piece of legislation did not gain full acceptance by lawmakers, he pressed on with his colleagues in the Senate to amend portions of his bill to HB 5, which will allow students to earn the Seal of Bilingualism and Biliteracy and proper insignia based on the curriculum guidelines established by the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The seal/insignia would be stamped on the student’s graduation diplomas.
California and New York are two states that already award the seal.
You can read the entire bill HERE.
The Texas State Board of Education held their Committee of the Full Board on July 17th; Senator Leticia Van de Putte, a key player in the passing of this legislation was present to discuss. See the live stream (minute 15:05) and agenda HERE.