How to advocate for language education at all levels

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Be an Advocate for Language Education

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ACTFL is working to raise public awareness on the benefits of language learning in order to influence the direction of US education. Our goals include: maintaining existing language education programs, diversifying instruction to new languages, and reaching more middle and elementary school students with world language instruction. Now, more than ever, advocacy in support of language education is critical. Explore State Advocacy Goals for even more ways you can get involved.

Take Action!

We often hear our leaders talk about the importance of a 21st Century education and the need for our future graduates to compete in the global marketplace. Language education is a critical component of the nation's future competitiveness. Your Senators and Representative need to hear from you, and you can also take personal action in the following ways:

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Start a Language Program

No language program in your local school? You can take charge and learn how to start one.

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Expand a Language Program

If you're looking for ways to help grow your school's current program, we have tips to make your job easier.

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Save a Language Program

Is your language program in danger of being cut due to budget constraints or other factors? Here are tips to help.

The Language Connects Foundation

The Language Connects Foundation (LCF) is a national not-for-profit and philanthropic organization created in partnership with our parent organization, ACTFL, to uplift language educators and champion language education.

For 50+ years, ACTFL has been the largest individual membership organization serving the needs of language educators. ACTFL already makes a significant impact on the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all instruction levels, but we have more to accomplish.

LCF is a standalone entity created to raise the funds necessary to advance and deepen the breadth and scope of ACTFL’s impactful work. Ultimately the goal is to help ensure a diverse, well-prepared, and highly skilled language educator workforce today and for generations to come.

Among four priority areas, LCF is dedicated to generating public education, ensuring that those outside the profession understand the importance of language education. Advocates can leverage research—such as the Making Languages Our Business report—and an advocacy resource toolbox via the foundation site. Information on the Top 10 Benefits of Learning Languages can also support grassroots endeavors.

Learn More about LCF

Who Benefits from Advocacy?

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Pre-K & Elementary

Young people are most open to learning about new languages and cultures. Early language study leads to long sequence programs and proficiency. Starting early facilitates addition of more languages, and language study helps children develop cognitive skills.

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Middle School

Language learning leads to greater understanding of different cultures. Increasing language proficiency opens more opportunities in secondary study. Language study enhances problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The skills required in learning a language transfer to other academic subjects and improved performance in those subjects.

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High School

Developing proficiency in other languages broadens career options. Skills in languages other than English make those not bound for postsecondary study more attractive employment candidates in a wide range of careers where communicating with diverse customers is necessary. Good language achievement enhances a student’s college prospects and opens paths for a wider range of college-level fields of study.

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The postsecondary experience can be greatly enhanced by study abroad and travel abroad programs when students have multilingual skills. This is the point of final career preparation, where language proficiency will greatly enhance their employment and future career prospects. Knowing another language will expose postsecondary students to career fields they might not have known about without this academic background.

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Community and Business

Solid language programs make the community and its schools more attractive to potential residents and employers. These programs contribute to a more diverse population and enhance the cultural experiences of all citizens. Offering language programs addresses the concerns and demands of parents in the community. Encouraging language learning helps develop a more valuable employment pool with contemporary skills. Acquisition of language skills increases business opportunities with minority groups within the community. Broader language skills help to improve the community by minimizing language barriers and building cross-cultural understanding.