Conference Report: 2016 Language Advocacy Day
Greater Involvement, Greater Impact
2016 Language Advocacy Day & Delegate Assembly
As JNCL-NCLIS continues to grow its membership and expand its network of language advocates year after year, so too does Language Advocacy Day continue to grow its attendance and expand its network on Capitol Hill year after year. This year’s Language Advocacy Day and Delegate Assembly was the largest in JNCL-NCLIS history, welcoming 94 language advocates to our nation’s capital to make the case for language to the federal government.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
The event began on Thursday morning, February 25 with a welcome from JNCL-NCLIS President, Marty Abbott, Executive Director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), and opening remarks from Platinum Sponsors Brigham Young University (BYU) College of Humanities, delivered by Dr. Ray Clifford, Associate Dean of the College of Humanities, and the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC), delivered by Executive Director Dr. David Ellis.
Following the welcomes, attendees heard keynote remarks from Sonia Zamborsky, Director of Global Product Field Support and Communications for Marriott International, and Mohamed Abdel-Kader, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) at the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Sonia gave an engaging talk about the value of cultural competence in the business community, and the power of language as an enabler of success in international business and trade. Mohamed, whose office at USED houses the Title VI/Fulbright-Hays grant programs, spoke to the possibilities that language proficiency and cultural competence bring to the business sector and society at large, and underscored the importance of our storytelling when raising awareness of programs such as Title VI. After a short break, attendees reconvened for an update on the Commission on Language Learning of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences from commission member Marty Abbott . Finally, before attendees broke off into meeting groups and state delegations, JNCL-NCLIS staff engaged attendees in an advocacy tutorial in which they presented JNCL-NCLIS appropriations and legislative priorities.
Attendees held 135 meetings with legislators and policymakers from 30 states and the District of Columbia
Between the Congress and the Executive Branch, attendees held 135 meetings with legislators and policymakers from 30 states and the District of Columbia in which they discussed the legislative priorities and concerns of the language field as well as insights into the work being done in their own states and districts. This year, meetings with the Executive Branch included the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and five meetings with USED with IFLE, the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), the Office of International Affairs (OIA), the Office of Early Learning (OEL), and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE).
Whereas the event had previously been held in May, it was decided by the Board of Directors of JNCL-NCLIS to move the event to February beginning in 2016. The change was made to better align with the Congressional appropriations process and allow for the greatest possible impact in meetings. Because of this change, language advocates were able to raise awareness at crucial time in federal policymaking and garner support in the form of signatures on letters to appropriators on issues such as the proposed cuts to Title VI/Fulbright-Hays of the Higher Education Act and the proposed underfunding of Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act. You can find the advocacy materials used in this year’s meetings below, as well as the advocacy guide.
After a successful day on Capitol Hill, language advocates returned to the Hyatt Regency for a reception, during which the JNCL-NCLIS Rush D. Holt Award was presented to Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA-20), with opening remarks from the award’s namesake, Dr. Rush Holt, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New Jersey’s 12th district, and currently the Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Congressman Farr, representing the Monterey area of California which houses the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, has been a stalwart supporter of language in his more than 20 years of service in the Congress. JNCL-NCLIS is proud to have had the opportunity to award this support as Rep. Farr looks to retire at the end of the present term.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Following Thursday’s successes, attendees reconvened on Friday morning to hear presentations from Platinum Sponsors NFLC and BYU, and from Gold Sponsor Rosetta Stone. In the first session, NFLC’s Director of Business Development, Taimur Khan, and Director of Art and Media Production, Bryan Anderson, presented on NFLC’s new web-based learning portal which houses over 12,000 learning objects in over 80 languages and dialects. In the second session, Ray Clifford presented on BYU’s Humanities+, +Humanities model that allows for undergraduate language certification regardless of a student’s major, while Lisa Frumkes, Director of Language Learning for Rosetta Stone, presented on the Rosetta Stone Language for Specific Purposes learning modules which build on elementary and intermediate levels of proficiency to then tailor more advanced learning to specific industries such as healthcare.
Next, delegates met in their state and Executive Branch groups and each group was able to share with all other attendees the substance and highlights of their meetings, as well as their group’s next advocacy steps. Reports were overwhelmingly positive, with delegates having learned important information to share with their state networks in addition to having established and built upon promising relationships with Congressional offices.
JNCL-NCLIS has gone from 61 members in 2012 to 115 in 2016, and our collective voice and advocacy efforts have had significant influence on funding and legislation over the past few years
2016 Language Advocacy Day concluded with the JNCL-NCLIS annual Delegate Assembly in which it was reported that JNCL-NCLIS has gone from 61 members in 2012 to 115 in 2016, and that our collective voice and advocacy efforts have had significant influence on funding and legislation over the past few years. As the goals of the last few years have been met, the JNCL-NCLIS Board of Directors will now undertake a strategic planning process with input from membership in order to examine the future needs of the field and determine how JNCL-NCLIS will need to position itself to meet those needs. This process will ensure that JNCL-NCLIS remains a leader in language policy at the federal level and a partner and resource to its membership in the coming years. You can read the Executive Director’s Report below for more information on JNCL-NCLIS activities over the last year.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Staff, let us express our deep appreciation to the delegates and attendees of 2016’s Language Advocacy Day and Delegate Assembly for their sustained advocacy efforts and to our sponsors that made the event another grand success. A full list of sponsors can be found below. We are also grateful to Sonia Zamborsky and Mohamed Abdel-Kader for their important messages on the value of language, and to Rep. Farr for taking the time to spend Thursday evening with us and for sharing his personal experiences with language and his knowledge of the condition of language policy in the Congress.
1Executive Director’s Report
In the past year, the 115 member organizations of the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies have continued to influence Federal policy and funding across the language enterprise, and have begun to have significant impacts at the state level, and in the business community. We have a fantastic, positive, and important story to tell the US Government and American business: the Language Enterprise exists to transmit language to new generations and to enable cultural understanding; we enrich the lives of countless students, patients, clients, and citizens in the US and globally.
In the past year, we’ve built on the momentum from our last Advocacy Days, holding more than 110 meetings with the Executive Branch and Congress. JNCL-NCLIS and its members are the trusted voices on language policy and programming in the US with policymakers and the press. We’ve continued to improve industrial standards, to represent the interests of the American language enterprise on the international stage, and to grow and enhance JNCL-NCLIS as an organization.
Our meeting brings together a diverse group of leaders of national, state, and language-specific organizations, company owners and CEOs, language professionals such as teachers, interpreters, translators, and researchers. While we’re here in DC, we will tell how our daily work advances American and global security and prosperity, and our energy and enthusiasm will exemplify our vocation as language professionals. Moreover, we’ll talk to each other, learning more about common challenges and shared solutions, renewing old friendships and making new ones.
In an election year, with the uncertainty it brings over the nature of the next administration and Congress, our work is ever more important. By visiting your elected and appointed officials during Language Advocacy Days and sending messages to them through the ACTFL CapWiz program, we will ensure continuity of the network of Congressional offices, staffers, and members who understand why language matters, and how the Federal Government might improve our national well-being through supporting language programs and through common-sense regulation of language in industry and education.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the more than 115 members, and our dedicated staff, I welcome you to Washington and wish you success in your meetings on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch. Enjoy the city and our colleagues.
With Best Wishes,
William P. Rivers, Ph.D.
In 2015, JNCL-NCLIS and its partner organizations were able to preserve funding for all of our programs, with significant increases for the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and for the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. Within the Department of State, we were able to ensure the continuation of the Title VIII program on the Former Soviet States, and to ensure re-funding in 2016 of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, eliminated by the administration in 2015. We were also able to secure the elimination of the Department of Labor’s incentive fund for state-level unemployment insurance audits, which have unfairly targeted the translation and interpreting industry.
Our success comes from the collective action of our 115 members, through your visits to Capitol Hill during our Language Advocacy Days, as well as through the work of many of our member organizations and their advocacy efforts. Moreover, we work in concert with the National Humanities Alliance, the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, the Coalition for International Education, the Council of Organizations of Social Science Associations, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. This broadens our reach and creates a powerful unified front for the language enterprise.
With respect to authorizing legislation, we were able to preserve a strong role for world languages in the new Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. This new “21st Century Schools” program provides population-based block grants to State Education Agencies (SEAs) in order to improve K-12 curricula. SEAs are required to disburse 95% of these grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs). World Languages are explicitly included as one of the core subject areas for these monies to support. As 2016 progresses, JNCL-NCLIS will work closely with the United States Department of Education, providing recommendations on the development of the regulations governing the 21st Century Schools Program and input into the grant guidelines. At the same time, we will work with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages, and the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages to develop effective materials for district and state-level language supervisors, educators, parents, and allies, to advocate at the local and state level for the inclusion of Foreign Languages in SEA applications for the 21st Century Schools grants. Additionally, JNCL-NCLIS, NCSSFL, NADSFL, and the National Association for Bilingual Education will be working with the Department on the development of regulations under Title I, which now includes the statutory requirements for assessing the efficacy of USED-supported Dual Language Immersion programs.
State Level Advocacy
As reported last year, across America, legislative efforts for Seals of Biliteracy have gained considerable momentum, and there is a widening recognition of the benefits of dual-language immersion programs. Over the last year, we have assisted state and local advocates with letters and testimony in support of Seals of Biliteracy, dual-language immersion funding, and language commissions in Maryland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. A full report on the external representation by JNCL-NCLIS is included at the end of the Executive Director’s Report.
JNCL-NCLIS has continued to spread the word about language advocacy and has expanded its membership from 93 to 115 members since the 2014 Delegate Assembly, and from 61 members at the 2012 Delegate Assembly. New members in 2015-16 are marked with an asterisk in the list of Member Organizations.
Please join in welcoming these new members to our collective endeavor. Their voices add to ours, and their expertise and efforts will ensure that JNCL-NCLIS is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Global Talent Project
As reported last year, our work on the definition of and demand for Global Talent continues. In 2015, JNCL-NCLIS participated in the Recruiting Trends Survey of the Michigan State University Collegiate Employment Research Institute. This follows up on the 2014 Survey, which we have reported on extensively. Key results are summarized in the Advocacy Guide; it is clear that there is a real demand for young professionals with a global perspective, and that moreover, American companies search for that perspective by looking for language proficiency and significant overseas experience.
Our work in Global Talent has led to invitations to present on Global Talent to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology; the Royal Thai Academy and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asian Development Bank, and the Human Resources Development working Group of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Working with APEC and the International Affairs Office of the US Department of Education, JNCL-NCLIS secured a competitive grant to survey the demand for Global Talent among APEC nations, including the US, in 2016. JNCL-NCLIS will report on the progress of this project as the year continues.
In addition to the membership growth noted above, the operations of JNCL-NCLIS continue to improve, as we have continued the 2014 strategy for growth and cost control. JNCL-NCLIS continues to operate with a manageable and diminishing deficit, reflecting the long-standing structural deficit present before 2013 and the extraordinary expenses incurred in that timeframe. The 2016 budget adopted by the Board of Directors closes the deficit significantly, with the deficit finally discharged by the end of the year. JNCL-NCLIS is moving to a formal status of being under financial review by our CPA firm, which will allow us to access a commercial line of credit, and will improve the transparency and strength of our financial management. Finally, we will be revising the JNCL-NCLIS website and rebranding NCLIS as the National Language Council. This work will be completed by the end of 2016.
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
American Councils for International Education
American Translators Association (ATA)
Council of Directors of Language Resource Centers
Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA)
National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL)
National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL)
National Committee for Latin and Greek (NCLG)
Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT)
Thank you for your support!