PORTLAND, Ore. – Several states are starting to recognize and reward high school graduates who are bilingual.
California, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois and Louisiana recently moved to add special bilingual seals to the diplomas of students who are proficient in two languages.
Other states are working on rules to begin using diploma seals.
In Oregon, one high school granted the seals this month to more than a dozen students, and seals will be available statewide next year.
Renewed interest in bilingualism marks a departure from the past decades. Rising immigration numbers led to English-only laws and states banned bilingual education.
In recent years, dual language programs have been on the rise. Parents and employers see bilingualism as vital in the globalized world.
Critics say dual language programs don't benefit English learners.