They say a picture speaks a thousand words. That notion also holds true for State Seals of Biliteracy, which recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English.
California led the way nationwide in adopting the seal (in 2011). Indiana became the ninth state to do so during the current legislative session.
Today, 74% of students who earn these seals are bilingual in Spanish. More than 165 school districts are currently granting the award.
One big question about the value of the seals is whether employers care about them. UCLA professor Patricia Gándara explored that question in a 2014 study. She surveyed 289 California employers, and found that they overwhelmingly prefer hiring a multilingual person. And, they said, they would favor someone with a certification that proves it.
Kruse, the Indiana bill’s author, says the seal goes beyond the obvious choice of speaking Spanish and English.
“A lot of businesses want to know, ‘Do you know Chinese? And how do I know you know?’ And you can have your certificate as verification.”
The following is an update on HB 1002, regarding charter schools:
Authors: Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan (D-Indianapolis) and Rep. Cindy Noe (R-Indianapolis) Sponsor: Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn)
Summary: Allows private universities to serve as charter school authorizers. Creates the Indiana Charter School Board to serve as a statewide authorizer. (Continues authorizing authority for state universities and the Indianapolis mayor.) Makes unused and underutilized public school facilities available for charter school use. Eliminates limits on charter schools approved by the Indianapolis mayor and on virtual charter schools. Increases funding for virtual charter schools from 80% of average state tuition support to 85%. Cancels interest payments on loans from the state that charter schools have acquired as the result of delayed tuition payments. Makes additional changes.
Chamber Position: Support Status: The Senate Appropriations Committee made additional changes this week that would increase funding for virtual charter schools to 85% of the state average rather than 90%, as proposed originally. Additional amendments were made to adjust how charter schools receive first semester funds (an ongoing concern that has caused charter schools to incur substantial operating loans) and to improve accountability for charter schools. The committee approved the amended bill on an 8-2 vote, with Sen. Earline Rogers (D-Gary) and Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) joining Republicans in support of the bill; it is now eligible for consideration by the full Senate.
Update/Chamber Action: The Indiana Chamber continued to work much of this week in helping to develop an accountability component for charter school authorizers that would raise performance expectations without putting charter schools at risk of future political swings. We believe that the amendment adopted this week accomplishes that balance. As the bill continues to progress, we join Speaker Bosma, the author of this bill, in wanting to see the triggers for conversion charter schools improved. Those triggers, we believe, should focus on some super-majority of parents in the school, rather than a focus on teachers who often do not live in the school boundaries, do not send children to the school and do not pay taxes in the district. We also note some continuing frustration with a small minority of legislators who remain unwilling to acknowledge that charter schools are public schools and who continue to portray these schools as siphoning funds from "real" public schools. Nonetheless, we continue to be pleased that this substantial bill is progressing and will continue to work with legislative leaders, the Indiana Department of Education and other charter school supporters to continue improving and advancing the bill.