Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Blueprint for Action on Language Education

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Blueprint for Action on Language Education

Article excerpt

Managing Editor's note.The following excerpt was taken from the full version of the Blueprint for Action-The next steps from the National Language Policy Summit held in January at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. [See Spring 2005 issue of "Member News" for an article about the summit] ACTFL wishes to recognize and thank Kurt E. Muller, formerly of the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL),University of Maryland, for attending the summit and summarizing the proceedings with the draft of this blueprint for action. The entire text is now available at the Year of Languages Web site: http.Y/www.yearof/anguages.org.

If indeed American society is to facilitate the acquisition of competence in other languages, individuals and groups need to take specific actions toward meeting such a goal. To determine fruitful steps to fulfill this mission, the participants formed three discussion sessions, one each for business, government, and academe. Each developed a set of priorities on which the group itself could act, determined the persons or organizations that will move this agenda, and set deadlines and milestones for achieving their goals. The groups reported at regular intervals in plenary session, including to those participating by remote means. These priorities also informed the off-site discussions, and participants in remote locations devised priorities for their locations.

Raising the Priority of Language Education

"The focus on international education in languages can't be primarily or ultimately at the higher-education level. It's critical that we have great centers, but we must teach languages much more broadly at K-12."

-former Governor James B. Hunt, North Carolina

Language and international education are essential to America's future, but they are appreciated more by the federal government for their contribution to diplomacy, national security, and international commerce than they are by the states, which are the major source of funding for education. In his remarks to set the societal context for education issues, James B. Hunt, former governor of North Carolina, advised the audience that federal agenciesespecially the Departments of Defense and State and some members of the U.S. Congress-understand the need for this critical skill. But the task of building support for expanded language education requires building coalitions of citizens, seeking commonalities of interest, and developing advocacy in the business sector. …

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