America’s Languages Caucus is Born

Rep. Price looking through binoculars at a military post.
Rep. Price looking ahead to a multilingual America

On November 12, the offices of Congressmen David E. Price (D-North Carolina 04) and Don Young (R-All Alaskans) announced the establishment of the Congressional Caucus on America’s Languages.
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 the nation’s economic and national security; ensure adequate resources are directed toward 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.
The decision to launch a new America’s Languages 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, which makes clear that the U.S. needs significantly more bilingual and biliterate citizens to help ensure national security, promote economic and job growth, and develop the potential of every U.S. student.
Bill Rivers, executive director of the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL), which has been instrumental in the establishment of the caucus, sees it as a major milestone for the recognition of the importance of language education in the U.S., especially since it is a proactive move, unlike previous government language initiatives which have invariably been in reaction to major events like Sputnik and 9/11. “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 Rivers.
“It’s alarming that U.S. students are falling behind their international peers in language competency and international education,” said Congressman Price, co-chair of the newly formed America’s Languages Caucus. “Congressman Don Young and I joined together to start the bipartisan America’s Languages 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 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.”
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 the nation’s economic and national security; ensure adequate resources are directed toward 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.
“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.”
"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,” commented 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. As of Monday, November 25, the caucus counts among its ranks the following members:
David E. Price, D-North Carolina 04
Don Young , R-All Alaskans
Jimmy Panetta, D-California 20
Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., D-California 39
Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico 03
Donald S. Beyer, Jr., D-Virginia 08
Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee 05
Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon 04
Ben McAdams, D-Utah 04
The co-sponsors of the caucus, Congressmen Price and Young, have agreed to accept the proposal of JNCL-NCLIS to maintain the caucus website, https://www.languagepolicy.org/americaslanguages.

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