- Speakers of languages other than English are among the most likely to be excluded from census figures
- Their exclusion not only undermines the democracy of the U.S., it also results in the misallocation of millions of dollars of federal and other aid
- Educators are trusted by limited-English-speaking minorities, making them the ideal messengers
- Bilingual and world language teachers can convince limited-English speakers that completing the census WILL NOT JEOPARDIZE their status
- Educators can help respondents access the web pages for census completion in the 11 languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese) for which the paper option is not available.
Language Magazine is producing guides to help teachers explain the importance of taking part in Census 2020 and the guarantee that the information will not be shared. Key points include:
- The U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress to carry out the census in "such manner as they shall by Law direct" (Article I, Section 2). The Founders of our nation had an ambitious plan to count every person living in the newly created United States of America, and to use that count to determine representation in the Congress.
- Federal law (92 Stat. 915; Public Law 95-416; October 5, 1978) prohibitsthe Census Bureau from sharing an individual's census responses with other government agencies, including immigration authorities and other law enforcement, until 72 years after the information is collected.
- Children suffer the most through undercounting: The Census Bureau admits that as many as 5% of children under age five were missed in 2010. This not only decreases the money allocated to a state through various federal grants, but also reduces some services, including Head Start, which provides early childhood education to low-income families. The impact is multiplied when an undercount fails to provide enough money, resulting in fewer places in the program, and the underfunding lasts for 10 YEARS!
Spread the word!
- Encourage members to reach out to their students and their families. Distribute guides to members
- Explain the census to students and their families in the language that they are most comfortable with.