From JNCL-NCLIS - Important Campaign
As you may know, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the United States Senate has released a draft of the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which you can read at http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/AEG15033.pdf.
As you will note, the draft bill does not contain any provisions for world languages, and drops the Foreign Language Assistance Act as well as programs for Native Languages in K-12.
The Senate Committee is accepting public commentary on the draft bill. We urge you to write to FixingNCLB@help.senate.gov. The note below is a template which you may use to send an email to the Committee.
Bill Rivers, Executive Director, JNCL-NCLIS
Marty Abbott, President, JNCL-NCLIS and Executive Director, ACTFL
Dear Senator Alexander,
As a language educator, I write to comment on the draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. While the draft bill would advance many aspects of our K-12 educational system and redress some of the deficiencies in No Child Left Behind, it contains no provisions to incentivize State and Local Educational Agencies to provide high-quality language programming in World Languages, nor does it contain provisions for improving Native American language instruction. Both of these areas have long been part of ESEA, drawing broad bi-partisan support for programs which traditionally provided seed corn to LEAs, SEAs, and Tribal Schools to develop world-leading language instruction.
With respect to World Languages, I ask that the Foreign Language Assistance Act of 2001, included as §5491 et seq. in NCLB, and sponsored by Senator Cochran, be included in the draft legislation. The Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) revolutionized Dual Language Immersion, which has been shown to close achievement gaps and provide significant cognitive and educational benefits to all children who participate. FLAP is a competitive grant program, awarding three years of funding to LEAs and SEAs, with a 1:1 matching requirement; LEAs across the country have used this seed corn to establish innovative, high-impact language programs in more than a dozen languages, from Arabic to Cherokee to Russian to Spanish, among others. More importantly, FLAP provides the US Department of Education a substantive policy platform in World Languages, which are ever more important to the national interest, impinging on global security, economic growth, and social justice.
With respect to Native American Languages, ...
In closing, let me commend the Committee's work thus far, and stress the vital importance of language to the national interest.
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