Bilingual language education bill goes to conference committee

Bill must receive final approval from both the House and Senate before being sent to the governor

BOSTON (WWLP) – A state proposal would allow English language learners to participate in bilingual education programs in Massachusetts public schools.

Under current law, all public school students must be taught in English. But some lawmakers say the current system is causing students who speak English as a second language to fall behind their peers.

Both the House and Senate approved bills to allow English language learners to take part in special programs at their public schools, including dual language education and transitional bilingual education.

“If there’s opportunity for them to learn in their native language, I think most schools and most administrators understand that that’s an important step,” State Senator Jim Welch told 22News. “It’s about trying to make sure that every student is put in a situation for them to succeed.”

The bill is currently under review by a six member conference committee who must compromise on a final bill.

The conference committee proposal must receive final approval from both the House and Senate and the governor’s signature before the bill can become law.