Dear language advocates in Indiana and the nation!
Glad to say that on April 14 at 12:03pm Biliteracy bill SB 267 passed in the House Floor 95-0 and is ready to be signed by the Indiana governor. A Certificate of Biliteracy and a notation on the students’ transcripts will be given to Indiana high school students. It has been 6 months of lobbying, testifying, and talking to different senators and representatives about the benefits of recognizing biliteracy in our state. But the time and wait valieron la pena!
To take advantage of the strength of the bill (that passed 50-0 in the senate), the dual-language immersion pilot program for elementary schools (House Bill 1635) was adhered to the bill and as a result it would be a state law too as soon as the Indiana governor signs the bill. 2 wins for language learning and bilingual education in Indiana!
Thanks to everyone in Indiana and other states that was part of the process! Special thanks to IFLTA President Gary Spurgin and IFLTA advocacy colleague Pamela Gemmer who were with me testifying before senators and representatives to convince them! Your support was essential to keep the dream alive after 3 attempts to pass the bill in the past.
We will join Illinois and Minnesota in the Midwest and the other 8 states in the nation with this recognition that we all advocate for.
The path doesn’t finish here since my dream and goal is to help my neighbor states and other states in the nation to get a biliteracy law.
This is something we do for our children and future generations!
I will always remember this historic moment in my life since today is my father’s birthday who always taught me to keep fighting for what I believe I could reach in life.
Have a great day and long live foreign languages!
Israel Fernando Herrera
AATSP Indiana Chapter President
IFLTA Advocacy Chair
CSC Advocacy Committee member
Asociación Europea de Profesores de Español -US Representative
2015 Indiana Ambassador for the Network of Early Language Learning
2015 COMU Award for Outstanding Faculty
2014 Indiana Latino Educator of the Year
2014 FACET Award for Excellence in Teaching