by Amanda Rollins, Japanese Language Program Coordinator
Teachers advocate for foreign language programs at their schools. Teachers’ associations advocate for foreign language education at the schools in their states. But who advocates for foreign language on Capitol Hill?
In May, the president of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) Ms. Motoko Tabuse and two AATJ advocacy experts Ms. Janet Ikeda and Mr. William Matsuzaki attended the Joint National Committee for Language – National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) Delegate Assembly to do just that.
Once a year, JNCL-NCLIS gathers together representatives from 92 language-related organizations in Washington, DC to meet with government representatives and their staff to discuss the current status of foreign language education in America. This year, delegates spoke about the connection between language and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), the importance of language when it comes to national defense, and the advantages of dual language immersion. Find out more about these topics at JNCL-NCLIS’s website and learn about how you too can advocate for foreign language on the national level!
This month’s Advocacy Tip comes courtesy of JNCL-NCLIS’s own suggestion: try to convince your school or district to award graduates who are proficient in two languages with a Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas. This can give your graduates in edge in college admissions and the job market, and it costs schools nothing to implement! Check out how other schools did it at SealofBiliteracy.org.