S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
I N S E N A T E
May 31, 2012
Introduced by Sen. ROBACH -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Education
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to a state seal of bili-
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Legislative intent. (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 academic
(b) The study of languages other then 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 New York
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 New York and throughout the world.
(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 communication with customers.
(f) It is the intent of the legislature to promote linguistic profi-
ciency 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 biliter-
acy. A state seal of biliteracy would be affixed on the high school
diplomas and transcripts of graduating pupils attaining proficiency in
one or more languages in addition to English.
S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new section 815 to read
S 815. STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY. 1. (A) THE STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY
IS ESTABLISHED TO RECOGNIZE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES WHO HAVE ATTAINED A
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 7522 2
HIGH LEVEL OF PROFICIENCY IN LISTENING, SPEAKING, READING, AND WRITING
IN ONE OR MORE LANGUAGES IN ADDITION TO ENGLISH. THE STATE SEAL OF BILI-
TERACY SHALL BE AWARDED BY THE COMMISSIONER. SCHOOL DISTRICT PARTIC-
IPATION IN THIS PROGRAM IS VOLUNTARY.
(B) THE PURPOSES OF THE STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY ARE AS FOLLOWS:
(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 TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SKILLS.
(6) TO RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND NATIVE LANGUAGE
INSTRUCTION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION FOREIGN
LANGUAGE MEANS ANY LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH (LOTE) INCLUDING ALL
MODERN LANGUAGES, LATIN, AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE, NATIVE AMERICAN
LANGUAGES AND NATIVE LANGUAGES.
(7) TO STRENGTHEN INTERGROUP RELATIONSHIPS, AFFIRM THE VALUE OF DIVER-
SITY, AND HONOR THE MULTIPLE CULTURES AND LANGUAGES OF A COMMUNITY.
2. (A) THE STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY CERTIFIES ATTAINMENT OF A HIGH
LEVEL OF PROFICIENCY BY A GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL PUPIL IN ONE OR MORE
LANGUAGES, IN ADDITION TO ENGLISH, AND CERTIFIES THAT THE GRADUATE MEETS
ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
(1) PASSING THE NEW YORK STATE REGENTS EXAMINATION OR ITS EQUIVALENT
IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS ADMINISTERED IN GRADE ELEVEN OR ABOVE.
(2) COMPLETION OF ALL ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS REQUIREMENTS OR ITS EQUIV-
ALENT FOR GRADUATION.
(3) PROFICIENCY IN ONE OR MORE LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH, DEMON-
STRATED THROUGH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING METHODS:
(A) PASSING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAMINATION IN A
LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH (LOTE) OR AN INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE
(B) SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF AT LEAST FOUR UNITS OF STUDY IN A
LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH (LOTE).
(C) PASSING A THIRD PARTY AND DISTRICT, REGIONAL OR BOCES DEVELOPED
ASSESSMENT FOR GROWTH AND LOCALLY SELECTED ASSESSMENT, IF NO ADVANCED
PLACEMENT OR OTHER SUCH COMPARABLE TEST EXISTS. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT MUST
CERTIFY TO THE COMMISSIONER THAT SUCH AN ASSESSMENT, AT A MINIMUM, MEETS
THE RIGOR OF A THREE YEAR SEQUENCE OF HIGH SCHOOL COURSE OF STUDY IN
THAT LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH AND THAT PASSING, AT A MINIMUM,
ASSESSES LISTENING, SPEAKING, READING AND WRITING IN A LANGUAGE OTHER
THAN ENGLISH. SAID TEST SHALL BE APPROVED BY THE COMMISSIONER.
(D) PASSING THE ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAMINATION IN LANGUAGES OTHER THAN
ENGLISH WITH A SCORE OF FOUR OR HIGHER OR PASSING THE SAT II: SUBJECT
TESTS IN LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH WITH A SCORE OF SIX HUNDRED OR
(B) FOR LANGUAGES IN WHICH AN ADVANCED PLACEMENT TEST IS NOT AVAIL-
ABLE, THE COMMISSIONER MAY PROVIDE A LISTING OF EQUIVALENT SUMMATIVE
ASSESSMENTS THAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS MAY USE IN PLACE OF AN ADVANCED PLACE-
MENT ASSESSMENT FOR PURPOSES OF CLAUSE (A) OF SUBPARAGRAPH THREE OF
PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION. A SCHOOL DISTRICT MAY PROVIDE THE
COMMISSIONER WITH A LIST OF EQUIVALENT SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS THAT THE
DISTRICT USES IN PLACE OF AN ADVANCED PLACEMENT TEST FOR PURPOSES OF
CLAUSE (A) OF SUBPARAGRAPH THREE OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION.
THE COMMISSIONER MAY USE LISTS RECEIVED FROM SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN DEVEL-
OPING HIS OR HER LIST OF EQUIVALENT SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS.
S. 7522 3
(C) FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, FOREIGN LANGUAGE MEANS ANY LANGUAGE
OTHER THAN ENGLISH (LOTE) INCLUDING ALL MODERN LANGUAGES, LATIN, AMERI-
CAN SIGN LANGUAGE, NATIVE AMERICAN LANGUAGES AND NATIVE LANGUAGES.
3. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL DO BOTH OF THE FOLLOWING:
(A) PREPARE AND DELIVER TO PARTICIPATING SCHOOL DISTRICTS AN APPROPRI-
ATE INSIGNIA TO BE AFFIXED TO THE DIPLOMA AND TRANSCRIPT OF THE PUPIL
INDICATING THAT THE PUPIL HAS BEEN AWARDED A STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY BY
(B) PROVIDE OTHER INFORMATION HE OR SHE DEEMS NECESSARY FOR SCHOOL
DISTRICTS TO SUCCESSFULLY PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM.
4. A SCHOOL DISTRICT THAT PARTICIPATES IN THE PROGRAM UNDER THIS
SECTION SHALL DO BOTH OF THE FOLLOWING:
(A) MAINTAIN APPROPRIATE RECORDS IN ORDER TO IDENTIFY PUPILS WHO HAVE
EARNED A STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY.
(B) AFFIX THE APPROPRIATE INSIGNIA TO THE DIPLOMA AND TRANSCRIPT OF
EACH PUPIL WHO EARNS A STATE SEAL OF BILITERACY.
5. NO FEE SHALL BE CHARGED TO A PUPIL PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION.
S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of September next
succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.