ASSEMBLY EDUCATION COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 4415

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED: †JUNE 4, 2015

 

††††† The Assembly Education Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 4415 with committee amendments.

††††† As amended, this bill establishes the State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more world languages in addition to English. The purposes of the State seal are to: encourage students to study languages and promote foreign language instruction in public schools; certify attainment of biliteracy; provide employers with a method of identifying people with language skills; provide colleges and universities with a method to recognize and award academic credit to applicants seeking admission; prepare students with 21st century skills; and affirm the value of diversity and honor multiple cultures.

††††† The State Board of Education will establish the criteria for awarding the State Seal of Biliteracy. The criteria will require a student to demonstrate proficiency in English by meeting State high school graduation requirements in English, including State assessments and credits, and proficiency in one or more world languages other than English. The criteria will permit a student to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English through multiple methods, including nationally or internationally recognized language proficiency tests. A world language will also include American Sign Language and Native American languages.† School district participation in the program to award the State Seal is voluntary.

††††† A State Seal of Biliteracy will be awarded by a participating school district to graduating high school seniors who meet the criteria established by the State board.† The Commissioner of Education is to prepare and deliver to participating school districts a certificate to be awarded to a qualifying student and an appropriate insignia to be affixed to the studentís transcript.

††††† The committee amended the bill to:

††††† 1) †provide that a qualifying student will be awarded a certificate under the program;

††††† 2) †eliminate the requirement that the State Seal insignia be affixed to a studentís diploma.† Under the amendments the insignia will only be affixed to a studentís transcript; and

††††† 3)† provide that a school district that participates in the program may pay the costs of the program or may charge a fee to students who participate to cover the costs.