WASHINGTON, DC (November 12, 2019) – Today, Congressman David Price (D-NC) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK) announced the creation of the Congressional Caucus on American Languages, a bipartisan effort to support and enhance foreign language competency and international education among students and professionals across the United States.
The decision to launch a new America’s Language Caucus resulted from a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Commission on Language Learning report: America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century that makes clear that the United States needs significantly more bilingual and biliterate citizens to help ensure national security, promote economic and job growth, and develop the potential of every American student.
“It’s alarming that United States students are falling behind their international peers in language competency and international education,” said Congressman Price, Co-Chair of the newly formed America’s Language Caucus. “Congressman Don Young and I joined together to start the bipartisan America’s Language Caucus to bring attention to this issue and help foster change by expanding access to language education at all levels to help bolster national security, promote economic growth, and improve our nation’s cultural competency.”
“We should be doing all we can to ensure that America’s students are equipped with the language skills necessary to navigate civic and professional life,” said Congressman Young, Co-Chair of the newly formed America’s Languages Caucus. “Preparedness in world languages is also an important component of our national security, and our nation must keep pace with the language programs being implemented by countries across the globe. Therefore, today I am proud to formally announce the creation of the Congressional Caucus on America’s Languages. This Caucus will be critical to engaging educators, business leaders, and other stakeholders to help craft policy solutions that help expand world language preparation in our country. It is my great honor to serve as Co-Chair with Congressman David Price, and I look forward to the work ahead.”
America’s Languages Caucus Mission:
The mission of the America’s Languages Caucus is to set forth a national strategy to raise awareness about the importance of world language learning and international education, particularly as it relates to our nation’s economic and national security; ensure adequate resources are directed towards the study of world language learning; and focus on improving access for students and educators who wish to participate in these fields of study, including world languages, Native American languages, and English for English learners.
Statements of Support
“We are delighted that Congressmen Price and Young have taken this critical step for education,” said David Oxtoby, President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “As our America’s Languages report makes clear, we need a national strategy for building our capacity in languages other than English, and the creation of this Caucus is a very important start.”
“The establishment of the America’s Languages Caucus demonstrates visionary leadership by Representatives Price and Young, as they continue to champion congressional efforts to support the learning of all America’s languages,” said Dr. Bill Rivers, Executive Director, Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL-NCLIS). “The membership of the Joint National Committee on Languages, representing more than 300,000 language teachers, translators and interpreters of every language used in the United States, welcomes this transformational Caucus and thanks Representatives Price and Young for their thoughtful work.”
“We welcome the establishment of the America’s Language’s Caucus in Congress as a significant means by which lawmakers can seek to raise awareness about the importance of world language education in our country,” said Howie Berman, Executive Director, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). “We thank Representatives Price and Young for their leadership and for recognizing that America’s language capacity directly impacts our national security, our economic standing in the world, and the ability of our students to compete in a 21st century global society.”
"NABE applauds the launch of America's Languages Caucus as a way to promote pro-multilingual policies, programs, research, pedagogy and high-quality professional development opportunities,” said Santiago Wood, Executive Director, National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE). “We need adequate funding for dual language programs serving Multilingual/Dual Language Learners, teachers, parents and communities, while also keeping the rights of English Learners clearly in focus as states and communities move forward with sustainable education reforms. NABE believes that investing in our children's education is an investment in our nation's future leadership, global standing and well-being. By using native and second languages in everyday life, we not only develop intercultural understanding, but we also show by example that we respect and can effectively cross over cultural and linguistic borders on a global scale."
"The languages used in Native American language schools and programs are the heritage and legacy not only of the indigenous peoples of this country, but are the heritage and legacy of all Americans, unique only to this country,” said Leslie Harper, President of the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs. “We believe languages are the key aspect of all cultures of the world. We are excited to see the support for language learning and increased access to opportunities to learn languages as a way forward to build strong futures."