The BTU Responds: Unz Initiative to End Bilingual Education

Impact: LOOK Act

On November 22, 2017, Governor Baker signed into law the LOOK Act. Broadly, the new law aims to provide districts with more flexibility as to the language acquisition programs they choose to meet the needs of English learners, while maintaining accountability for timely and effective English language acquisition.

Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA): “LOOK Act Provides Needed Flexibility” (2018)

  • The Language Opportunity for Our Kids Act replaced the Unz Initiative after 15 years.
  • The LOOK Act “opens the door for changes in how more than 90,000 English learners in Massachusetts are educated.” 
  • “’Passage of the LOOK Act will not only create new opportunities for our students; it also honors the contributions of our immigrant communities,’ said MTA President Barbara Madeloni. ‘It recognizes there is great value to all students becoming bilingual and bicultural.’”
  • “In 2010, the Rappaport Institute at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government released a report commissioned by the state that attempted to answer the question of whether the SEI law was improving student outcomes. The study found that achievement gaps were just as wide under the law as they had been before, and in some cases they were wider.”
  • “A 2012 study by researchers Wayne Thomas and Virginia Collier for the Joint National Committee for Languages concluded, ‘Dual language learning has been found to be the only method of second language acquisition to facilitate the full closure of the achievement gap between English learners and English speakers in primary and secondary education.’”