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The World Language Advancement and Readiness Grant Program: Ask Congress to Fully Fund in FY21

Contact your House Representatives and Senators today and ask that they include $15m in defense funding for the newly authorized World Language Advancement and Readiness Grant Program.

The World Language Advancement and Readiness Program directs the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Education to create a competitive grant program for "the establishment, improvement, or expansion of world language study for elementary school and secondary school students".

Step 2: Prepare your talking points or email message. Below is a sample phone or email script for BOTH House and Senate members:

  • The future national security and economic well-being of the United States will depend substantially on the ability of our military and workforce to communicate proficiently and understand the languages and cultures of other countries.

  • According to a 2019 survey, the demand for foreign language skills among U.S. employers is outpacing the supply, especially among high-demand languages.

  • Unfortunately, the United States lags in the percentage of its citizens who have knowledge of a second language as compared to other nations.

  • Currently, only 21% of America’s high school students study a second language, leaving our military and intelligence communities with an inadequate pool of potential recruits for mission-critical language positions.

  • Multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports cite the shortfalls of language and culture skills in the U.S. military and intelligence communities, concluding that our nation’s language deficit could threaten our priorities and missions around the globe.

  • Further, the Commission on Language Learning of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a report in February 2017, at Congress’ request, which notes that “by several measures, the United States has neglected languages in its educational curricula, its international strategies, and its domestic policies.” The World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program can begin to correct this problem.

  • Section §1751 of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes the creation of the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program to support high-quality world language programming in our nation’s elementary and secondary schools.

  • For these reasons, I respectfully urge inclusion of $15 million for the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants program in the FY 2021 Department of Defense Appropriations bill.

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