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On May 3, 2016, House Bill (HB) 879—the Georgia Seal of Biliteracy—was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal and went into effect on July 1, 2016. Outside of the language education sphere, many educators and policymakers may not fully understand the benefits of studying other languages. Yet, this policy hinges on the utility of simultaneously demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language and an advanced command of English, thus forming the foundation of biliteracy. This article provides an overview of the political landscape in Georgia as it pertains to language education and analyzes how lawmakers translated the issues at hand into specific goals for the Seal of Biliteracy. The paper concludes with four policy proposals to improve the implementation of the legislation and provide suggestions for enhancing pending legislation elsewhere.


Originally published in:

Jansa, T., Brezicha, K., (2017). The Georgia Seal of Biliteracy: Exploring the Nexus of Politics and Language Education. Dimensions, 45.

Posted with the permission of the Georgia Early Childhood Association.