An Act relative to language opportunities for our kids

Click here to view the bill text and status on the Massachusetts Legislature's website

Summary of the LOOK bill

  • This legislation proposes to amend Massachusetts Public Schools policy of transferring their students into English only classrooms after an average of one year
  • This policy of moving ELL students into English only classrooms too early, only hurts their growth and perpetuates the growing gap in dropout rates
  • These statistics show the educational gap that has formed in our school system between ELL students and their peers and without state intervention, this divide will continue
  • My legislation will also track student’s progress throughout their academic career
  • My legislation would work with RETELL by allowing the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to promulgate the pathway for teachers to be certified supplementary to the work the RETELL started
  • Bill will provide the framework for school districts to better serve the needs of ELL students, while offering greater flexibility for educators
  • With this legislation, school districts with ELL students must provide a report to parents
    and educators including descriptions of programs in all student languages, descriptions of student assessments and testing, an explanation of the opportunities the district is making available to LEP students, as well as an ELL program evaluation of the school district
  • It is through this legislation that we also hope to encourage English students to learn a language and incentivize them to acquire these beneficial language skills by establishing a Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy

ELL Facts in Massachusetts

  • In the Boston Public School system 23,000 out of 59,000 students have native languages other than English
  • In 2011, ELL students were classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP) for an average of 3.5 years
  • Drop-out rates for all students in state are 5.6%, while ELL students are nearly three times that percentage
  • At 14.9% in 2014, the ELL students marked the highest dropout rate of all student groups
  • The general population graduates at the rate of 86.1% compared to 63.9% for students whose first language is not English

In the News

Relevant Documents