Language Educators

1.  Has anyone invited (successfully) a Representative to their classrooms?

Posted 01-31-2018 12:06
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Thanks in advance for your responses!

We are facing a few up-hill battles in state legislatures this year, and I was curious if anyone has invited (successfully or not) a local, state or federal representative to their classroom. 

By engaging our representatives on such a personal level, we as advocates can make the impact to fill a vote or establish ourselves as the "go-to" resource in our community.

If you HAVE brought "Congress to the Classroom," please let us know! We are looking for successful tactics and fun stories to add to our Advocacy Tool Kit!

If you HAVE NOT (and want to Lead with Languages!), check out the attachment on tips to inviting your member.


Trey Calvin
Program Coordinator | American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)


2.  RE: Has anyone invited (successfully) a Representative to their classrooms?

Posted 02-01-2018 20:48
In 2010,  I responded to either an ACTFL Spring request or a NEA Spring request by completing the sentence " If you came to my school,  you would see..."
Much to my wonderful surprise,  Congressman John Tierney responded and visited our school ;  he was wonderful!
In addition,  during our French Exchange,  the Consul General de France Boston came to sign an agreement between our school and a school in France.
Another year,  our State Senator Bruce Tarr came to our school and spoke to our students about Washingtoon and Lafayette when the French students were visiting.
I have taken our students on tours of the Massachusetts State House where State Senator Tarr,  and our State Representatives Hill,  Kelcourse, and O'Connell Ives met us for a photo shoot.
These created memorable moments for our students,  and I believe for the Officials as well.

Regina Symonds
regina.symonds@tritonschools.orgFrench Teacher

3.  RE: Has anyone invited (successfully) a Representative to their classrooms?

Posted 02-02-2018 11:40
Wow, Regina!

Thanks for sharing how you advocate! Unless the decision-makers SEE what is happening in our classrooms, they won't KNOW how important and impactful language learning is. Inviting a Congressperson to class is a unique opportunity to build a long-lasting relationship and gain an ally in the fight for expanding language education.

Annual events, state/regional conferences, public forums at your school are also FANTASTIC times to gain allies in the fight.

And we're needing allies in the fight more than ever. Just this past month, Virginia's House introduced a bill that would replace world language credits with computer coding credits in high school, an misguided attempt to expand computer science at the expense of world languages.

This may sound familiar if you're from Florida, Wyoming, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Maine, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas.... and the list goes on. In fact, over the last 5 years, nearly half of the Union has been under the threat of substituting (and thereby, eliminating) world languages for coding "languages."

I believe many of us understand the fundamental difference: coding is computers communicating with computers; language is humans communicating with humans. However, until we (i.e. advocates) actively relay this concept to decision-makers, they may continue to view these coding bills as the language --the literacy-- of the 21st century. Learning a language has cognitive, social, and emotional benefits; communicating to a global audience is the literacy of the 21st century.

But I digress. I'm curious what others are doing to raise awareness for langauges...!!!

Trey Calvin
Program Coordinator | American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)