Students who are proficient in speaking and writing in more than one language will now be rewarded for their excellence when they graduate. House Bill 330 “Diploma Seal of Bilingualism,” sponsored by House Majority Leader, Rick Miera (D-Bernalillo-11), establishes a State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracy on New Mexico Diplomas of Excellence.
It honors graduates who are proficient in speaking and writing a language other than English. Several school districts and individual schools have a bilingual seal, but it has not been coordinated statewide. HB 330 requires the Public Education Department (PED) to adopt rules to establish criteria for students to earn the state seal of bilingualism-biliteracy. Enacting this legislation also provides students with multiple options for demonstrating academic excellence. Studies show that achieving high academic standards improves students’ college and career readiness. HB330 also provides additional accountability for our state’s bilingual multicultural education programs.
“This legislation is a celebration of our children’s fluency in more than one language,” says Rep. Miera. “It validates bilingualism in our multicultural and multilingual state and recognizes the value of having writing, speaking and reading skills in two or more languages. In order for our students to be successful and marketable in our now global economy, the ability to demonstrate and endorse fluency in more than one language is essential.”
New Mexico is perceived as a leader in bilingual multicultural education across the country. Right now, Albuquerque Public Schools and Clovis Municipal Schools are already awarding Seals of Excellence for Bilingualism. HB330 would ensure uniformity of standards is developed by PED applicable to all schools making such awards. California and New York have enacted similar laws.
HB 330 is on the Governor’s desk. Students and Advocates in the Bilingual Multicultural community are hopeful this legislation will be signed into law.