Dual Language Schools What does the Seal of Biliteracy stand for?

01/2019
Author Photo: Seal of Biliteracy

In Walthamstow, England, "SPEAK ENGLISH" was sprawled across a wall in large, loud and unfriendly letters in a very populated area. Walthamstow is a working-class neighborhood in London, with many Eastern European, South Asian and African immigrants. London is often thought to be a melting pot for many cultures, where anyone can express themselves.

The neighborhood was outraged by the graffiti. Someone suggested planting 6,000 crocus to cover the graffiti. Another person suggested adding a "P", to then read, "SPEAK PENGLISH".


photo credit: @doodlebank

A local artist, Chris Walker, developed a much better idea. He added "WE" in front of "SPEAK" and added "POLISH, PANJABI, LITHANIAN, UDU, ROMANIAN, BUGARIAN, TURKISH, TAMIL, BENGALI, FRENCH, COCKNEY" after the word "ENGLISH".


photo credit: @doodlebank

This is what the Seal of Biliteracy is all about.

"Seal of Biliteracy started as a grassroot movement 10 years ago because of California Proposition 227, which limited our immigrant students to SPEAK ENGLISH only. Proposition 227 ignored the immense asset bilingual students bring to the classroom, and instead imposed an English only ideology rather than embracing multiculturalism. Seal of Biliteracy is the first step to have government recognition on the benefit of biliteracy."

Not to mention- how cool is it to be bilingual and biliterate?

The Seal of Biliteracy movement is about so much more than learning a language. Understanding, utilizing and studying vocabulary and grammar is just the beginning. Learning a language is about appreciating, understanding, and accepting the culture and history associated with the language.

Seal of Biliteracy is a call to help us understand each other, appreciate our differences and to challenge the misconception, stereotype and prejudice in our society.

Today, 36 states plus DC have established the Seal of Biliteracy. This is a journey many of our readers participated in. We encourage you to invite your friends to learn a new language for 2019 as their New Year's resolution. We believe learning a language, its culture and tradition is a great way to fight against racism in America.

We would love to hear your stories! What does the Seal of Biliteracy mean to you and your community? How does your school celebrate the Seal of Biliteracy? Email your stories to info@DualLanguageSchools.org