The neoliberal logic of state seals of biliteracy

Maria C. Schwedhelm, Kendall A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


State-issued seals and certificates of biliteracy are increasingly common nationwide. Nevertheless, limited research to date has examined how this state legislation functions as language in education policy and the ideological foundations of these policies. Addressing this gap, the present paper examines state seals as an instance of neoliberal language education policy and addresses how the policy has been constructed in public discourse and interview narratives and how it has been implemented to date. Focusing on one state, Minnesota, we demonstrate the neoliberal logic that undergirds state seals of biliteracy. Data revealed uneven availability of assessments and access to seals across the state. Access was largely determined by market-oriented, rational choice ideologies, and dependent upon the language and district in question. Analysis also suggested that while Minnesota seals have been constructed in public discourse as a financial asset, their value is unclear in a potentially inflated marketplace of academic credentials within the state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-27
Number of pages16
JournalForeign Language Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages


  • certificates
  • credentials
  • language policy
  • multilingualism
  • neoliberalism


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