Advocacy

Foreign Language Advocacy

Contact the media (letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, radio and TV segments, etc.).

Example – Work with university teachers to promote a long sequence of study to state and local policy makers. Less obvious allies you shouldn’t overlook include your local opinion shapers, parent-teacher organizations, realtors, clergy, the business community, and non-foreign language staff.

Inform other teachers, administrators (don’t forget the Superintendents’ Group and Curriculum Leadership Councils), and parents about these issues and your activities through newsletters, alerts, and any other media that reaches your constituency.

Example – First, volunteer to be on a political action committee. Second, find at least one other person who will participate and make sure the committee has complete contact information. Delegate one member of the committee to maintain this information in a database that can be used and updated easily.

Build coalitions with other organizations and key constituency groups.

Example – The local school board is to vote on implementing a long sequence program that will complement your elementary immersion program. Make sure they receive information from you that clearly states how this change will impact your program and students.

Example – Send a paragraph or two to the editor of your local and/or state newsletter describing your project or predicament. Another idea is to create a position paper on foreign language to be widely circulated in your community.

Identify specific points in the decision-making process where advocacy efforts will have the greatest impact, and identify persons in those positions.

Maintain and organize network lists by recruiting people who promise to participate in one or more of these activities.

Example – Send a paragraph or two to the editor of your local and/or state newsletter describing your project or predicament. Another idea is to create a position paper on foreign language to be widely circulated in your community.

Example – Well-constructed immersion programs aren’t cheap, but a clearly outlined explanation of benefits and costs will help sell the program. Be direct and your community will respect your straightforwardness.

Example – Local budget cuts may result in the discontinuation of your immersion program. Bring this to the attention of your state political action committee and your colleagues.

Example – Call the education reporter of the local paper and ask him/her to come visit your program. Or write a letter to the editor stating your opinion on the issue.

Keep informed of political issues that affect language education at the local, state, and national levels.

Identify specific issues that your state foreign language association should address. Identify how early language education will be affected by specific policy and budget discussions and decisions.

Adapted from Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) advocacy workshop materials (1997) and Glastonbury, CT, Public School documents drafted by C. Brown and B. Neumaier (1996).
– See more at: http://www.actfl.org/advocacy/discover-languages/for-parents/fl-advocacy#sthash.k9Cn2Lil.dpuf.

Here you’ll find practical advice on how to become a foreign language advocate in your community. You can also link to your representatives in our nation’s capital so you can let them know your stance on foreign language issues.
Become an Effective Advocate in 8 Easy Steps.

Example – First, volunteer to be on a political action committee.

Clarify and strengthen your foreign language budget with “bottom line” justification.

Example – The local school board is to vote on implementing a long sequence program that will complement your elementary immersion program. Make sure you know who the Chair and the other members of the board are. Make sure they receive information from you that clearly states how this change will impact your program and students.

(reprinted with permission from the Center for Applied Linguistics).

Example – Read the newspaper, “Learning Languages” (journal of the National Network for Early Language Learning), your state foreign language association’s newsletter, and any other publications dealing with issues that will have an impact on your program.