Lincoln-Way Teacher Advocates for Language Learners in Washington
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lincoln-Way North Spanish teacher Linda Egnatz traveled to Washington D.C. last week to advocate for the importance of language education, including the state Seal of Biliteracy which is sweeping the country.

In 2014, Lincoln-Way students were the first to pilot the Seal of Biliteracy, which will be added to a high school students transcript to indicate mastery of a second language. Egnatz, who was named the 2014 National World Language Teacher of the Year, has been a strong voice for the seal program across the nation and recently served on a task force to establish national guidelines.

During her trip to Washington, Egnatz met with United States Senator Mark Kirk, as well as legislative staff members with United States Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Bobby Rush and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Egnatz said Senator Kirk highlighted the possibility of including university support for incoming freshman with the Seal of Biliteracy as part of the federal Higher Education Act as well as an effort to link Chinese schools with Illinois schools like Lincoln-Way that have Mandarin language programs.

I am committed to advocating for state or federal education policies that will enhance educational opportunities focused on equipping our students with language skills, Egnatz said. In todays global economy, it is more important than ever to teach language proficiency so that our students have a competitive advantage. A second-language is no longer a nice to have, its a need to have for access to 21st century jobs. Currently one in five jobs is linked to international trade.

Earlier this year, nearly 90 Lincoln-Way students were recognized for demonstrating a high level of skill in two languages during the districts second annual Seal of Biliteracy Award Ceremony.