Bill aims to improve education for students learning English

November 16, 2017

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers have approved legislation aimed at helping students still learning English get the most from their education.

Since 2000, the number of “English learners” in Massachusetts has doubled to more than 90,200 students, or 9.5 percent of the student population.

Under the bill approved Wednesday, schools can maintain existing English immersion programs or choose an alternative — giving parents the flexibility to choose programs that best meet their child’s needs.

The bill also creates a state Seal of Biliteracy to be awarded to students who attain a high level of proficiency in English and one or more foreign languages.

While overall state graduation rates have increased over the past decade, an achievement gap between English learners and other students persists.

The bill heads to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.

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