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Federal Legislative Priorities
In developing new federal legislation and/or revising existing legislation, the ACTFL Board of Directors endorses the following initiatives as priorities for the foreign language profession in order to build the nation’s language capacity:
- Ensure that ALL languages are supported in our educational system, not just the languages that are deemed critical for today. Since research supports the notion that after learning a second language, the third and fourth languages come more easily, it is important to support any language that a school system considers important for its community and for which teachers are available.
- Encourage and support the creation of articulated, continuous sequences of language courses beginning in the earliest grades and continuing through college, with immersion and language study abroad as key components.
- Include funding for the development of a consistent program of assessments starting in the earliest grades to measure student progress toward proficiency in foreign languages.
- Since learning a foreign language increases performance in other core subject areas, make foreign languages truly a part of the core curriculum in every school.
- Provide assistance to community colleges and universities offering specialized foreign language instruction focused on combining language instruction with other majors, and for special purposes, such as law enforcement, health care, and first responders.
- Provide incentives to enhance teacher recruitment and retention, such as loan forgiveness, and ensure teacher quality through the teacher education and certification process.
- Require intensive training for teachers recruited from abroad so they understand how to teach in American schools, and provide professional development for teachers currently in the classroom on how to incorporate standards-based teaching into their curriculum.
- Develop the skills of our Heritage Language speakers by encouraging the continued learning of their native language as well as English.
- Fund research into a wide range of areas, including enrollments, best practices, and longitudinal studies to examine the effects of language education on the cognitive development, as well as the academic and career success of students.
- Provide funding for public education initiatives such as the Discover Languages…Discover the World campaign. Policy makers and business leaders need to support efforts to change public attitudes toward foreign language learning.