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AN ACT concerning education.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
(a) It is the intent of the legislature to encourage
excellence for all pupils, and the legislature wishes to
publicly recognize pupils for exemplary achievements in
(b) The study of languages other than English in elementary
and secondary schools should be encouraged because it
contributes to a pupil's cognitive development and to our
national economy and security.
(c) Proficiency in multiple languages is critical in
enabling this State to participate effectively in a global
political, social, and economic
context and in expanding trade
with other countries.
(d) The demand for employees to be fluent in more than one
language is increasing both in this State and throughout the
(e) The benefits to employers in having staff fluent in
more than one language are clear: access to an expanded market,
allowing business owners to better serve their customers'
needs, and the sparking of new marketing ideas that better
target a particular audience and open a channel of
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communication with customers and businesses in other
(f) It is the intent of the legislature to promote
linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy in one or more
languages in addition to English and to provide recognition of
the attainment of those needed and important skills through the
establishment of the State Seal of Biliteracy. A State Seal of
Biliteracy would be designated on the high school diplomas and
transcripts of graduating public school pupils attaining
proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English.
The School Code is amended by adding Section
2-3.157 as follows:
(105 ILCS 5/2-3.157 new)
State Seal of Biliteracy.
(a) In this Section, "foreign language" means any language
other than English, including all modern languages, Latin,
American Sign Language, Native American languages, and native
(b) The State Seal of Biliteracy program is established to
recognize public high school graduates who have attained a high
level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to
English. The State Seal of Biliteracy shall be awarded
beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. School district
participation in this program is voluntary.
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(c) The purposes of the State Seal of Biliteracy are as
(1) To encourage pupils to study languages.
(2) To certify attainment of biliteracy.
(3) To provide employers with a method of identifying
people with language and biliteracy skills.
(4) To provide universities with an additional method
to recognize applicants seeking admission.
(5) To prepare pupils with 21st century skills.
(6) To recognize the value of foreign language and
native language instruction in public schools.
(7) To strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the
value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and
languages of a community.
(d) The State Seal of Biliteracy certifies attainment of a
level of proficiency, sufficient for meaningful use in
college and a career, by a graduating public high school pupil
in one or more
languages in addition to English.
(e) The State Board of Education shall adopt such rules as
may be necessary to establish the criteria that pupils must
achieve to earn a State Seal of Biliteracy, which may include
without limitation attainment of units of credit in English
language arts and languages other than English and passage of
such assessments of foreign language proficiency as may be
approved by the State Board of Education for this purpose.
(f) The State Board of Education shall do both of the
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(1) Prepare and deliver to participating school
districts an appropriate mechanism for designating the
State Seal of Biliteracy on the diploma and transcript of
the pupil indicating that the pupil has been awarded a
State Seal of Biliteracy by the State Board of Education.
(2) Provide other information the State Board of
Education deems necessary for school districts to
successfully participate in the program.
(g) A school district that participates in the program
Section shall do both of the following:
(1) Maintain appropriate records in order to identify
pupils who have earned a State Seal of Biliteracy.
(2) Make the appropriate designation on the diploma and
transcript of each pupil who earns a State Seal of
(h) No fee shall be charged to a pupil to receive the
designation pursuant to this Section. Notwithstanding this
prohibition, costs may be incurred by the pupil in
demonstrating proficiency, including without limitation any
assessments required under subsection (e) of this Section.
This Act takes effect July 1,