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Letter to Representative Julia Brownley on the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act (H.R. 2549)

August 07, 2013

Dear Representative Brownley: 

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we would like to offer our support for the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act (H.R. 2549).  

We are pleased that the bill would establish a grant program in the U.S. Department of Education for the purpose of recognizing high-level student proficiency in English and a second language, including non-spoken languages such as American Sign and Braille. States could use their grants to establish or improve programs that award seals to high school seniors who are candidates for graduation and have strong academic records in speaking, reading, and writing both English and a second language. 

Students who are fluent and literate in more than one language have a competitive edge in today’s job market. The seal would:

  • Certify that an individual is fluent and literate in English and a second language other than English.
  • Help employers, colleges, and universities distinguish talented applicants with valuable skills.
  • Celebrate the diversity of our students and their academic achievements. 

NEA thanks you for your leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with you to recognize the importance of biliteracy in today’s diverse society.  

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations