Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate
Protect Foreign Language Programs In Our Schools
Please sign and share this petition to tell the U.S. Congress to reject the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts that would eliminate major funding for international education and foreign language programs. This legislation would directly impact our students’ academic performance, the American economy, and our country’s capacity to interact and compete with other nations. Language study is vital for facilitating intercultural communication and cooperation. The merit of foreign language programs lies in the exposure of students to the vast world beyond their respective communities. Languages are the bridge by which the United States can interact with other nations, and they are universally applicable to all fields of study. American companies lose an estimated $2 billion a year due to inadequate cross-cultural guidance for their employees in multicultural situations (Committee for Economic Development, 2006). Our students go on to work in jobs that require interactions with different countries and cultures, and foreign language skills are critical in these professional endeavors that contribute to economical growth. Students who completed at least four years of foreign-language study scored over 120 points higher on each section of the SAT than students who took a half year or less (College Board, 2016). Extensive research shows that the process itself of learning another language supports academic achievements and cognitive benefits. Thus, even for students who do not directly use a foreign language beyond formal education, their language classes nevertheless make a valuable contribution to their future. The Trump administration’s rationale for the proposed budget cuts is that international education and foreign language programs "suppor[t] activities that are better advanced by other agencies whose primary mission is national security." Diplomacy is the first step in national security before putting our troops in danger unless absolutely necessary. Retired U.S. military officers recently wrote a letter urging Congress to fully fund diplomacy in recognition of the fact that "many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone.” Not every student will go on to become an official diplomat, but our nation certainly stands to gain from diplomatic citizens who are culturally aware and appreciate global diversity as a result of foreign language classes. International education and foreign language programs foster the skills and values essential to cultivating the compassionate global citizens that will comprise our country's next generation of leaders. Put America first by protecting these programs in our schools. Help ensure that our next generation is equipped to actively engage with the diverse cultures of our world.