The Value of Bilingualism and the Seal of Biliteracy In the California Labor Market

The implementation of the State Seal of Biliteracy in 2012, and the fact that even in the first year about 10,000 graduating seniors were able to receive the SSB prompted us at the Civil Rights Project to ask, What will this mean for these students, how might it affect their postsecondary options and will it have any value in the labor market? To answer this last question, we conducted a statewide survey of employers in late 2012 and early 2013 to see how they might view a potential employee who holds the seal. We also contacted a number of colleges and universities to see if they would be incorporating the seal into their reviews of applicants.

The Value of Bilingualism and the Seal of Biliteracy

About the Author:

Photo: Patricia Gándara

Dr. Patricia Gándara

Research Professor, UCLA Graduate School of Education; 
Co-Director, The Civil Rights Project at UCLA

Patricia Gándara is Research Professor and Co-Director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. She is also Chair of the Working Group on Education for the University of California-Mexico Initiative in which she is spearheading a number of California-Mexico education projects. Gándara is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the National Academy of Education, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy, the French-American Association at Sciences Po Graduate Institute, Paris, and an ETS fellow at Princeton, New Jersey. In 2011 she was appointed to President Obama's Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and in 2015 received the Distinguished Career Award from the Scholars of Color Committee of the AERA.

Gándara recently co-edited two journal issues: Language Policy (2012) and Teachers College Record (2013) that summarize research conducted in Arizona for the Horne v Flores Supreme Court case, which dealt with the rights of English Learners to a equitable education. The studies pointed out the fallacy of rapid transition to English, and loss of Spanish for EL students in Arizona. Her most recent books include Forbidden Language: English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies (2010) with Megan Hopkins, from Teachers College Press, and The Bilingual Advantage: Language, Literacy, and the U.S. Labor Market (2014, with Rebecca Callahan), a compilation of studies that demonstrates the economic value of biliteracy in a rapidly globalizing world.