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1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Legislative intent.
5    (a) It is the intent of the legislature to encourage
6excellence for all pupils, and the legislature wishes to
7publicly recognize pupils for exemplary achievements in
8academic studies.
9    (b) The study of languages other than English in elementary
10and secondary schools should be encouraged because it
11contributes to a pupil's cognitive development and to our
12national economy and security.
13    (c) Proficiency in multiple languages is critical in
14enabling this State to participate effectively in a global
15political, social, and economic context and in expanding trade
16with other countries.
17    (d) The demand for employees to be fluent in more than one
18language is increasing both in this State and throughout the
20    (e) The benefits to employers in having staff fluent in
21more than one language are clear: access to an expanded market,
22allowing business owners to better serve their customers'
23needs, and the sparking of new marketing ideas that better
24target a particular audience and open a channel of



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1communication with customers and businesses in other
3    (f) It is the intent of the legislature to promote
4linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy in one or more
5languages in addition to English and to provide recognition of
6the attainment of those needed and important skills through the
7establishment of the State Seal of Biliteracy. A State Seal of
8Biliteracy would be affixed on the high school diplomas and
9transcripts of graduating public school pupils attaining
10proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English.
11    Section 5. The School Code is amended by adding Section
122-3.157 as follows:
13    (105 ILCS 5/2-3.157 new)
14    Sec. 2-3.157. State Seal of Biliteracy.
15    (a) In this Section, "foreign language" means any language
16other than English, including all modern languages, Latin,
17American Sign Language, Native American languages, and native
19    (b) The State Seal of Biliteracy program is established to
20recognize public high school graduates who have attained a high
21level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and
22writing in one or more languages in addition to English. The
23State Seal of Biliteracy shall be awarded by the State Board of
24Education beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. School



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1district participation in this program is voluntary.
2    (c) The purposes of the State Seal of Biliteracy are as
4        (1) To encourage pupils to study languages.
5        (2) To certify attainment of biliteracy.
6        (3) To provide employers with a method of identifying
7    people with language and biliteracy skills.
8        (4) To provide universities with an additional method
9    to recognize applicants seeking admission.
10        (5) To prepare pupils with 21st century skills.
11        (6) To recognize the value of foreign language and
12    native language instruction in public schools.
13        (7) To strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the
14    value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and
15    languages of a community.
16    (d) The State Seal of Biliteracy certifies attainment of a
17high level of proficiency by a graduating public high school
18pupil in one or more languages in addition to English.
19    (e) The State Board of Education shall adopt such rules as
20may be necessary to establish the criteria that pupils must
21achieve to earn a State Seal of Biliteracy, which may include
22without limitation attainment of units of credit in English
23language arts and languages other than English and passage of
24such assessments of foreign language proficiency as may be
25approved by the State Board of Education for this purpose.
26    (f) The State Board of Education shall do both of the



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2        (1) Prepare and deliver to participating school
3    districts an appropriate insignia to be affixed to the
4    diploma and transcript of the pupil indicating that the
5    pupil has been awarded a State Seal of Biliteracy by the
6    State Board of Education.
7        (2) Provide other information the State Board of
8    Education deems necessary for school districts to
9    successfully participate in the program.
10    (g) A school district that participates in the program
11under this Section shall do both of the following:
12        (1) Maintain appropriate records in order to identify
13    pupils who have earned a State Seal of Biliteracy.
14        (2) Affix the appropriate insignia to the diploma and
15    transcript of each pupil who earns a State Seal of
16    Biliteracy.
17    (h) No fee shall be charged to a pupil pursuant to this
19    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect July 1,