Legislation 2021

Every year the Coalition for a Multilingual RI advocates for a number of legislation that support the development and expansion of multilingual education. See below for bills that we are tracking this legislative session. 

The World Language and Dual Language Immersion Act
H5239 (Reps. Diaz, Slater, Perez, Alzate, Felix, Biah, Ajello, Shallcross Smith, Tobon, Batista)
S0457 (Senators Ciccone, Euer, Calkin, Acosta, Valverde, and Bell)

  • Summary: This  act  would  establish  and  require  funding  for  a  world  language  and  dual  language immersion  program.
  • Why we support this legislation: This modest reserve of state funding will prioritize multilingual education by creating a dual language program fund and a world language and dual language specialist position at RIDE. This specialist will serve as a resource for school districts and take a critical role in the development, expansion, and improvement of world language and dual language immersion programs across the state. 

Dual language immersion model policy and timeline
S0355 (Senators Quezada, and Pearson) 

  • Summary: This act would require the department of education to create a model policy and timeline to assist local education agencies in implementing a dual language immersion program. This model policy and timeline would be sent to the president of the senate and the speaker of the house.

  • Why we support this legislation: The development of an exemplar model for dual language immersion program expansion in Rhode Island with an associated timeline gives local districts and schools clear guidance on expectations for the advancement of these programs. In addition, this bill would charge RIDE to accelerate the incorporation and development of dual language programs across the state into its education priorities.

The Education Equity and Property Tax Relief Act
S0090 (Senators Cano, Murray, Pearson, Picard, Quezada, Lawson, Euer, Seveney, DiPalma, Calkin)

  • Summary: This act would add to the determination of the need to support high-need students the factor of whether the student is an English language learner (multilingual learner) as defined by the department of education’s regulations.

  • Why we support this legislation: Adding English language learners to the funding formula would ensure adequate, sustained, and predictable funding to school districts with multilingual students. Districts with the highest populations of multilingual learners have been historically underfunded by the state, leaving students and educators without adequate resources and professional learning to equitably serve all students.

Biliteracy Seal for College Credit 
H5837 (Representatives Morales, Amore, Alzate, Ranglin-Vassell, Giraldo, Caldwell, and Felix)

S814 (Senators Quezada, Ciccone, and Cano)

  • Summary: This  act  would allow  high  school  students  who  receive  the  state  Silver  or  Gold  Seal  of Biliteracy to earn two (2) to four (4) semesters of world language coursework credit toward a minor or major in the language at each state public university and public community college if requested within three (3) academic years after graduating high school.

  • Why we support this legislation: Awarding college credit for the Seal of Biliteracy would put students on a pathway to completing minors and majors in languages alongside their chosen majors in college. This legislation would recognize language proficiency with college credits for students that do not have access to AP world language exams or concurrent enrollment courses, and include students whose languages are not taught in our schools. It is important to note that the minimum proficiency level required for the Gold Seal of Biliteracy is Advanced Low, which is the same level required by RIDE to be certified as a world language or dual language educator.

Concurrent Enrollment Courses for Students Enrolled in World Language Courses 
H5838 (Representatives Morales, Amore, Ranglin-Vassell, Alzate, Giraldo, and Felix) 

  • Summary: This  act  would  establish  the  concurrent  enrollment  courses  for  students  enrolled  in accelerated world language courses thereby allowing the students to earn credits towards a degree at a state university while contemporaneously earning credits towards a high school diploma.

  • Why we support this legislation: Establishing accelerated world language courses for college credit would provide language courses at the appropriate level for the many heritage language, native language, and dual language learners whose languages have historically been marginalized in our educational system. Providing concurrent enrollment courses at this level would put students on an accelerated pathway toward completing minors and majors in languages alongside their chosen majors in college.

Increasing Opportunities for Teachers of Color Act
H5699 (Representatives  Williams,  Alzate,  Barros,  Hull,  Amore,  Henries,  Biah, Batista, Abney, and Morales) 

  • Summary: The act would provide for a multifaceted approach to increase the quality of education in public urban and urban ring  schools by  promoting  the  development, utilization and opportunities for  teachers  of color. This act would further provide for a two million dollar ($2,000,000) annual appropriation for a scholarship fund to develop teachers for employment in urban and urban ring schools. Preference for scholarship awards would be given to students of color. Scholarship recipients would commit to  work  in  an  urban  or  urban  ring  school  for  one  year  for  each  year  a  scholarship  award  was accepted. Additionally, this act would provide for a two hundred thousand dollar ($200,000) grant to  the nonprofit Rhode  Island  School  for  Progressive  Education.  This  grant  would be  awarded annually as approved by the general assembly.

  • Why we support this legislation: Research is clear that the diversification of the teacher workforce improves the outcomes of students from all cultural and racial backgrounds. This legislation would support both new teacher pathways to build consistent and high quality teacher development pipelines and ensure BIPOC have the opportunity and support they need to be successful educators. The Coalition for a Multilingual RI supports further provisions in the bill that would mandate promotional activities for the scholarship be presented in multiple languages and some of the scholarship funding be reserved for multilingual educators of color. 

Certification of Teachers of English Learners/Multilingual Learners (ELs/MLLs)

H5829 (Representatives Biah, Diaz, Baginski, Alzate, Williams, Hull, Amore, Henries, McNamara, and Batista)

  • Summary: This act would mandate the department of education to provide rules and regulations to streamline the English as a second language (ESL) and/or English language learner (ELL) teaching certification to allow reciprocity to persons who hold a Massachusetts teaching certificate with similar certifications, provide cohorts for teachers to take classes to obtain a certification, and conduct classes at the individual school level.
  • Why we support this legislation: The number of MLL/EL students in Rhode Island has nearly doubled (increased by 93%) from the 2009-2010 to 2018-2019 school years, yet only 3% (381) of Rhode Island public school classroom teachers and instructional coordinators held an active bilingual, dual language or English to Speakers of Other Languages certification. A comprehensive plan to certify more teachers of MLLs is urgently needed. The Coalition for a Multilingual RI supports further provisions in the bill that would include bilingual dual language educator certification in addition to ESL to ensure that educators are prepared to support students in maintaining and developing their home languages, in addition to English.
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