US Secretary of Education Addresses CABE 2016

The Importance of Bilingual Education

 Address of US Secretary of Education, John King, to CABE 2016

March 25, 2016

Good afternoon.

Thank you, Tom, for that kind introduction. I’m grateful to Tom [Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction] for his leadership on behalf of education for the whole child, and for ensuring that every student in California has the opportunity to graduate ready for college and career success.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to join CABE for today’s conversation. I appreciate the leadership of Karling, Jan, and the CABE board, as well as the commitment that CABE has lived over many years to ensure that we advance biliteracy and multiliteracy for all students. CABE’s record includes launching the Seal of Biliteracy here in California — which we then replicated in New York — and a commitment to the leadership development of teachers, principals, and school board members. These are critical efforts that are a testament to the strength of commitment in this room to bilingual education.

As a former high school social studies teacher, I like to put conversations in historical context. And I think it’s important to take a moment to celebrate the transformation in the conversation around bilingual education over the last decade — thanks, in no small part, to the leadership of those in this room. One need look back only ten or fifteen years ago to see many folks making the wrong-headed assumption that students speaking a language other than English at home were a deficit, an obstacle, a problem to be fixed. But we’ve shifted.  <Read more>

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