Advocacy 101: Having an 'ask'

Letter of support for languages from U.S. Senator Claire-McCaskill (D-Missouri):

Brochure used to promote world languages at my high school:

PLENTY of information and compelling reasons to support world language learning as an essential core experience in this article by University of Tennessee at Martin French professor, Dr. Robert Peckham:
Foreign Languages: An Essential Core Experience

The October 2010 issue of The Language Educator published by ACTFL has an article "How Threatened Language Programs Have Been Saved Through Coordinated Efforts" You can access the article through this link:

You'll also find lots of links at the ACTFL website regarding research linking language study with cognitive gains:

You can access a webinar offered through the homepage of NNELL (National Network for Early Language Learning) entitled "World Language Programs In Crisis: What to do when your program is in danger of elimination"

Embedding Advocacy Opportunities Into All That We Do

Handout from my presentations at the AATSP Conference in Washington, DC and ACTFL in Denver, CO:

Advocacy Efforts in Missouri

2012 International Education Summit in Jefferson City, Missouri

Here's the agenda:

Summit to Focus on Educating Students for a Global Society
Preparing students to live and work in an increasingly global society is the focus of an International Education Summit Monday, Jan. 9 in Jefferson City.
Sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the summit will feature presentations about international education opportunities, foreign language programs, and exchange programs for students, teachers and administrators.
"The summit is a step toward better understanding the vital role we have as educators to bring a more global view into our classrooms," said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.

The summit program includes a panel discussion, "How Missouri Engages with The World," moderated by former Missouri Gov. Bob Holden. Panelists include officials from elementary and secondary education, higher education and state government. Other sessions will include presentations by foreign language instructors who teach Spanish, French and Chinese in Missouri classrooms.
Students from the Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson City will conduct an international classroom skyping demonstration and communicate via the Internet with students in Lyon, France. A taped presentation will feature students from Lee's Summit conversing with a resident of China.
"Our world is a rapidly changing place and interaction with other countries is becoming more common every day," Nicastro said. "It is our responsibility as educators to begin preparing students from an early age to successfully navigate the changing world and succeed in a globally competitive workplace."
The summit will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. The event is being funded through a grant to the state Education Department from the Longview Foundation for Education in World Affairs and International Understanding, Inc.

Message shared with Missouri policy makers:

A true 21st century world class education requires proficiency in other languages

Today, a 21st century world-class education must include opportunities to gain proficiency in other languages. This message parallels Governor Nixon's Transform Missouri Initiative that seeks to create jobs and transform our economy for the 21st century by building human capital and embracing emerging technologies. By equipping our students with strong second language skills, they are better positioned to meet the demands of a global economy that extends here to Missouri where we take in upwards of thirteen billion dollars each year gained through international exports. Our top trading partners include Mexico, China, Japan, Germany, France and Canada, including French speaking Montreal and Quebec. We can buy products in any language, but if we wish to sell them effectively, we need to speak the language of our customers.

Learning any language is a valuable experience. Research demonstrates time and time again that students gain cognitive benefits through language study. This has significant implications for tomorrow's workforce as students who receive second language instruction become more effective problem-solvers because of an increased awareness of a wider set of options. We must protect existing language programs and extend students' access to a long-term sequence of clearly articulated instruction beginning in the earliest grades so that they can all experience these gains. In doing so, Missouri can significantly build its human capital and transform our workforce as well as its position as a national leader in education. We ask for your support of world languages as a core component of a true 21st century world-class education.

Delegation from Foreign Language Association of Missouri meets with Governor Jay Nixon who issued a proclamation for Discover Languages Month.