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Education Policy Analysis Archives








The Seal of Biliteracy is a grass-roots language policy initiative that is sweeping across the United States. An award affixed to high school graduates’ transcripts and diplomas, the overarching purpose of the policy is to promote and foster students’ bilingualism and biliteracy in K-12 schools. Initiated in California in 2011, the policy has been modified significantly as stakeholders in 32 different states have drafted, passed, and enacted similar legislation in recent years. On its surface, the policy appears to hold promise in disrupting the monolingual norm prevalent in U.S. schools; however, with many states focusing efforts on world language education for English-dominant students, a critical analysis of the policy from the lens of the large and growing population of English learners is warranted. This paper considers the 32 state policies from this lens, first exploring the policy purpose and logistics and then making policy recommendations to enhance equity and access for English learners. The recommendations target stakeholders across the United States who seek to either initiate or revise Seal of Biliteracy policies within their unique state contexts.


Author Posting. © The Authors 2018. This article is posted here by permission of The Mary Lou Fulton Institute at Arizona State University for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in the Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2018,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.