English-Language Learners

New York Becomes Second State to Recognize Biliteracy

By Lesli A. Maxwell — August 01, 2012 1 min read

New York has now joined California to offer a special “seal of biliteracy” to high school graduates who demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation yesterday making it official.

As you’ve already read in this space before, California was the first to establish this special recognition for multilingual graduates and just recently reported that more than 10,000 graduates in the class of 2012 had earned the distinction.

Californians Together, a nonprofit group that advocates on behalf of English-language learners, conceived of the biliteracy seal and has been a strong advocate for other states to adopt a special recognition of students with multilingual skills, including those who demonstrate proficiency in American Sign Language. The seal is intended for all students, including ELLs.

Will this catch on in other states? Certainly, California and New York are often trend setters when it comes to public policy, and, with a growing interest and commitment to developing bilingual citizens in states such as Utah, I think the answer is probably yes.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.