Hot Sheet

Celebrating ‘biliteracy’ and bipartisanship…all in one bill

Author: Dan Njegomir - February 9, 2017 - Updated: June 6, 2017

Even as the country’s newly minted Republican president mulls plans for building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico,  Republicans in Colorado’s legislature, joined by their Democratic colleagues across the aisle, are going global. At least, when it comes to the language arts.

Senate Bill 123, introduced into the upper chamber by Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada and Republican Sen. Kevin Priola of Brighton, would “grant a diploma endorsement in biliteracy” to every Colorado high schooler who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one foreign language by graduation. The bipartisan proposal picked up a bipartisan endorsement when it made its debut in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, winning approval 6-1.

From a Senate GOP press release noting the bill’s progress:

Priola…told the Senate Education Committee that advertising a graduate’s biliteracy on a diploma not only would encourage students to study a second language, but it would impress college admissions offices and improve a certificate-holders job prospects.

…”By allowing school districts in our state to publicly recognize and credential academic achievement in the study of foreign languages, the seal of biliteracy will give universities and potential employers an additional tool to evaluate an applicant’s qualifications and skill set,” said Priola. “With a significant number of Colorado’s most prominent employers seeking bilingual candidates, Colorado students who have received this seal in foreign language proficiency will be highly competitive for positions in these key industries and excel in the increasingly global economy.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

 

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.