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JNCL-NCLIS Language Advocacy Days 2024 Event Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


WASHINGTON, D.C, March 13, 2024 --This February, the JNCL-NCLIS Language Advocacy Days 2024 (LAD24) event hosted over 230 language educators, professionals, and students from all 50 states and D.C. gathered for the two-day virtual event to meet with Members of Congress and advocate for language education. With a total of 243 meetings, all 100 Senate offices and 143 House offices heard the needs of local language educators. 


LAD24 prepared attendees for congressional meetings with a comprehensive language education legislative update and advocacy training for four key pieces of legislation and additional funding requests: 


  1. The World Language Education Assistance Program (World LEAP) Act (H.R. 5603): The U.S. Department of Education lacks a program that offers all districts the opportunity to compete for funds to develop and grow innovative world language and dual language programs. The World LEAP Act would establish a multi-year, competitive grant program, open to all K-12 school districts, to establish, improve, and carry out world language and dual language programs. 


  1. The Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act (H.R. 7007/S. 3595): There is no federal support to implement and scale Seal of Biliteracy programs. JNCL-NCLIS worked with Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) to revise the BEST Act to:

  2. Provide funding to states to establish, improve, and implement Seal of Biliteracy programs.

  3. Require subgrants from states to school districts to enable school districts to subsidize the costs of Seal of Biliteracy baseline and final assessments for low-income students.


  1. The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act (H.R. 4588/S. 2261): Despite the incredible value of study abroad experiences, only 10% of American college students study abroad before they graduate, and minority students, first-generation college students, community college students, and students with disabilities participate at even lower rates. JNCL-NCLIS worked with Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) to revise the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program to:

  2. Help institutions of higher education to sustainably expand study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students in the United States.

  3. Prioritize grant awards for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Serving Institutions, institutions that qualify for the Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions Program, and institutions that offer study abroad programs with a significant world language component.


  1. The Advancing Research in Education Act (AREA) (S.3392) Language Attainment Research Provision: The U.S. Department of Education conducts no research and collects no data on the status of world language education in the United States, making it difficult to ascertain need and provide support where necessary. The AREA Act legislation would mandate that the Department’s Statistics Center “collect, report, analyze, and disseminate statistical data…” related to K-12 and higher education on “the availability of, and access to, foreign language coursework.”


  1. Funding for Key Language Education Programs, including World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants Program, the National American Language Resource Center Program, Title III, and HEA Title VI: The monetary requests made for each program would help continue providing grants and funding for critical existing world language programs. 


As a result of sharing our collective voices, relationships with congressional offices were created and strengthened, connections were made between congressional priorities and the important role of language education, and new co-sponsor support was gained for both the World LEAP Act and the BEST Act. 


JNCL-NCLIS exists as a collaborative space and takes action on behalf of the shared needs, experiences, and movements of our field by shaping legislation and policy that will grow language education programs and uplift multilingual voices across our nation. Following the successful advocacy during LAD24, JNCL-NCLIS leadership and policy will continue their essential year-round work to garner support for language education legislation.




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About JNCL-NCLIS: Established in 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) unites a national network of leading organizations and businesses comprised of over 300,000 language professionals to advocate for equitable language learning opportunities. Our mission is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.



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