Chang-Díaz ‘Thrilled’ by Governor’s Signing of Bilingual English Instruction Bill

By David Ertischek | Dec 11, 2017

Governor Charlie Baker signed the LOOK Bill into law on Dec. 5th, which recognizes the value of bilingualism by encompassing the best practices for serving English learners. State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz fought hard for the bill to pass, particularly because she knows bilingualism is an essential skill for career growth, college readiness and to enable students to be competitive in the global economy.

“I am thrilled to see this bill signed into law. All children in our schools deserve to learn English, and now parents and educators will have the tools to serve each student’s needs and make sure no child falls between the cracks,” said state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, co-chair of the LOOK bill conference committee and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “At a time when the voices of bigotry and xenophobia threaten our country’s basic values, Massachusetts is taking a stand that we will do what’s right for all children, including immigrant children, and that we’ll put evidence and facts ahead of ideology.”

The bill removes the current mandate requiring schools to use Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) as the default English learner program model, according to a press release from Chang-Diaz’s office. Schools will now have greater flexibility to establish programs based on the needs of their students. School districts can still maintain current SEI programming or they can choose to implement a different instructional program that is “research-based and includes subject matter content and an English language acquisition component.”

The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House (155-1) on Nov 15th.

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Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, a former Education Committee chair and a leader on education funding reform, said, “This bill stands as our commitment that, in Massachusetts, zip code must not be destiny.”

"Our session today continues nearly a half-century of work for educational equity. And this bill would not exist without the generations of Bay Staters who tirelessly and passionately kept the cause alive. Who saw the work ahead and never gave up, even when political insiders believed the issue was dead."

Fulfilling the promise of public education as the great equalizer is our next big goal. Bay Staters believe in it. It’s a goal our constitution anchors us to. Now, that collective effort in advocating, crafting policy, and working together has given us a chance to deliver on it.

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Office of State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz

MA State House, Rm 111

24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

(617) 722-1673 | sonia.chang-diaz@masenate.gov