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February 28, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressmen David E. Price (D-NC), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Don Young (R-AK) introduced the World Language Advancement and Readiness Act, legislation that would create and support high-quality world language programs in elementary and secondary schools.

Foreign language education is vital to our national security and economic competitiveness. Multiple GAO reports have cited shortfalls of languages and culture skills in the U.S. military and intelligence community, finding that our nation’s language deficit could threaten our priorities and missions around the globe.  Meanwhile, American business and their clientele are diversifying and globalizing their operations, requiring language skills to access global markets and serve a multilingual population.

The World Language Advancement and Readiness Act would direct the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Education, to authorize three-year competitive grants to support local and state school districts that want to establish, improve, or expand innovative programs in world language learning.

“Giving school districts across the country new resources for teaching foreign languages will enrich the education of elementary and secondary students and expand their horizons. This legislation will ensure we have the educational capacity and infrastructure to provide our citizens with global understanding and competencies and will equip the next generation of leaders with the skills necessary to communicate and collaborate internationally,” said Congressman Price.

The bill is supported by some of the leading international education and foreign language advocacy organizations, including the Joint National Committee for Languages - National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

JNCL-NCLIS Executive Director Bill Rivers notes that "the World Language Advancement and Readiness Act will help make America more secure and will prepare our children for the challenges of the 21st Century.”

According to ACTFL Executive Director Marty Abbott, “ACTFL is grateful for the leadership of Representatives David Price (NC), Don Young (AK), Joe Crowley (NY), and Leonard Lance (NJ) as they continue to push for language learning to be a national priority and to improve language capacity for our country's national security.  The World Languages Advancement and Readiness Act would provide crucial educational opportunities to carry out the recommendations in seminal report released today by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences."

More information about the World Language Advancement and Readiness Act is available here.