House Majority Leader Rick Miera
NM HOUSE News:
SANTA FE–Legislation that would cement New Mexico’s reputation as the nation’s leader in bilingual multicultural education has passed the House of Representatives with a unanimous vote 67-0.
House Bill 330 “Diploma Seal of Bilingualism,” sponsored by House Majority Leader Rick Miera, D-Bernalillo establishes a State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracyon New Mexico Diplomas of Excellence. It honors graduates who are proficient in speaking and writing a language other than English.
Several school districts and individual schools have a bilingual seal, but it has not been coordinated statewide. HB 330 requires the Public Education Department (PED) to adopt rules to establish criteria for students to earn the state seal of bilingualism-biliteracy. Enacting this bill also provides students with multiple options for demonstrating academic excellence and provides additional accountability for our state’s bilingual multicultural education programs.
“The inclusion of the Bilingual Seal on a high school diploma reflects the value we place on the importance of language and the role it plays in bringing to life the beauty of our rich culture and tradition in New Mexico,” Miera said. “It is a celebration of our children’s fluency in more than one language. As the former chairman of the House Education Committee and Legislative Education Study Committee, this is a cause for celebration. It epitomizes and affirms the place of language and culture in our vision of education for our children. It is a way for us to sustain the beauty of the cultural diversity of our state.”
In addition, Miera has been working with the PED and the newly re-established State Bilingual Advisory Council (SBAC) comprised of local experts in the education of linguistically diverse students in New Mexico. Its members advise and assist the PED in meeting the needs of second language learners and ensure the effective implementation of the NM Bilingual Multicultural Education Act.
House Bill 330 now goes to the Senate Education Committee.