The bill, titled An Act relative to language opportunity for our kids (the LOOK bill), will "allow local schools to tailor bilingual lesson plans for the more than 90,000 students in Massachusetts who are not fluent in English and are referred to as English language learners, or ELL students. The legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate and opposed by just one member of the House." The enacted bill has now been put before Governor Charlie Baker, who will need to sign it into law to make it official. The bill was sponsored by the Language Opportunity coalition and supported by many groups, including the Massachusetts Association of Bilingual Educators.
English language learners are the fastest subgroup of Massachusetts students comprising nearly 10% of the enrolled student population. This percentage increases when considering specific communities, where ELL students make up more than half of all students in some schools. Long considered a leader in education and social issues, the Bay State may now become an exemplar for bilingual instruction, as well.
-Mary Bridget Burns, with reporting from the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and the State House News Service