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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"It’s going to be a game changer," Chang-Díaz said. "I know it's going to take time for the MCAD to fill the staffing shortages that they've been experiencing in recent years, but this is a huge step forward."