The Benefits of the Seal of Biliteracy

by multilingualmania on August 16, 2011

in Language Policy, Literacy and Biliteracy

The Seal of Biliteracy is a special recognition that promotes and validates bilingualism and biliteracy in English and another language. The Seal of Biliteracy has been implemented by many school districts in California and is currently spreading to other districts throughout the nation. There are many benefits to implementing a Seal of Biliteracy in your local school district, including:

1). The Seal of Biliteracy validates biliteracy and raises the status of minority languages within a predominately monolingual educational system.

Although millions of students within school systems throughout the nation speak a language other than English, their primary languages are often underutilized and devalued within the educational system. In many school districts, students are denied the right to learn another language. In cases where bilingual programs are available, students may still be subjected to an English-only accountability system in some states and materials in languages other than English are scarce or non-existent. Implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy elevates the status of minority languages and sends a strong message that speaking more than one language is an asset that deserves special recognition.

2). The Seal of Biliteracy promotes foreign language study that prepares students for life beyond high school.

As an entrance requirement, most universities require that students study the same foreign language for a minimum of two years. In many cases, students study the minimum amount of years required for acceptance into a university, and often fail to achieve high levels of proficiency in another language. Proficiency in a language other than English will benefit students in a future world that is becoming more diverse and multilingual every day. The Seal of Biliteracy encourages and expands rigorous foreign language instruction at the high school level beyond the traditional two-year minimum of foreign language study.

3). The Seal of Biliteracy promotes participation in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes and exams.

In order to receive the Seal of Biliteracy, students must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. One way to meet this requirement is to pass an Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exam in a foreign language. There are multiple benefits to participating in AP and IB classes and exams, including receiving university credit for the passage of an AP or IB exam. Encouraging students to take an AP or IB exam will save students time and money in the long run!

4). The Seal of Biliteracy provides students with a competitive edge in the employment market as well as increased opportunities for higher education.

As the world becomes more linguistically and culturally diverse, employers are in need of the cultural and linguistic skills of bilingual and culturally proficient citizens. Students who receive a Seal of Biliteracy can promote this accomplishment on their resumes, as well as scholarship and university applications. Bilingual and biliterate individuals are more marketable to employers and institutions of higher learning.

Are you interested in starting the Seal of Biliteracy in your school district? Check out our resources and tips for implementing the Seal of Biliteracy.

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