Last July, the Advocacy in Action column was titled “Beyond Preaching to the Choir.” To continue that metaphor, I’d like to share my favorite new quote about advocacy, “The reason we preach to the choir is because we want to inspire them to sing.” (Dr. Jay Ketner) I was inspired to sing even more loudly last month when I attended the Language Advocacy Day, organized by the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL).
At this annual language summit, over 160 administrators, educators, and representatives of the language industry gathered in Washington, D.C., to become informed, network, and meet with members of Congress. On the first day, we learned about the dozens of federal programs that affect the Language Enterprise, the role advocacy can play in advancing collective policy priorities, and how to be a successful advocate for world languages on Capitol Hill. That afternoon, we met with our Senators, Representatives, and other national committees to inform their offices about the importance of language education based on the top five recommendations from America’s Languages: Investing in Languages for the 21st Century, the report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on Language Learning. On the second day of the summit, multiple speakers representing all sectors of the industry spoke about the challenges and possibilities facing language education in the near future. Anyone who cares about language learning is encouraged to attend this stimulating and empowering conference. Next year’s Language Advocacy Day is already scheduled for February 27-28, 2020.
The resources below will “inspire you to sing” by making it even easier for you to join the voices who are advocating for language education.
- Read about the World Language Advancement and Readiness Act of 2019 (WLARA) This important proposed legislation would authorize the Secretary of Defense to make grants to support the study of world languages in elementary schools and secondary schools.
- Read the International Education and Engagement Update from the Dept. of Education:
- Continue to share the Wisconsin Language Roadmap with all stakeholders.
- Contact your senators and representatives to ask for their support for the WLARA legislation. Download a sample letter, personalize it, and send.
- If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the email newsletters from JNCL-NCLIS here https://languagepolicy.org/.
- Get your students involved by posting to the WAFLT Instagram feed using #WAFLTwiWord of the month.