Reflecting on November

Image for Article: Reflecting on November

As you may know, my “day job” takes me to Capitol Hill to advocate for all things language. With the mid-term elections having past, it’s time to reflect on what could be at stake for Dual Language Immersion, and to commit to always making our voices heard. First and foremost, I hope you educated yourselves about all of your local races and voted in the most recent elections.

Even if you live in a place where the outcome seems preordained (as I do, living in the DC suburbs), that’s never a sure thing, and it’s never true for all the offices and ballot questions. While we fully expected our Senator, Congressional representative, and Governor here to sail through, it’s not too hard to recall a recent election when the results confounded every pollster and pundit. Moreover, there were city and county council races, school board races, and state legislative choices to be made, and these were all vitally important, because the vast majority of funding for public education comes from the state and local level – more than 90%.

Image for Article: Reflecting on November

At the federal level, which I’m paid to think about and advocate, we have a huge number of issues at stake. The current administration has repeatedly tried to damage or eliminate our programs – the proposed reauthorization of the Office of English Language Acquisition, the proposed elimination of funding for Native American, Alaska Native, and Hawai’ian Education, to include the immersion programs in those languages funded through the Department of Education; the proposed elimination of Title II of the Higher Education Act, which supports teacher training, and many others. We’ve been able to protect and preserve these programs through bipartisan support in Congress. Let’s hope and work to ensure that continues with the newly elected representatives come January.

Bill Rivers
Author: Bill Rivers

Dr. Bill Rivers has more than 25 years of leadership experience in culture and language for economic development and national security, with expertise in the private, public, and non-profits sectors, in research, assessment, program evaluation, policy development and advocacy. Before joining JNCL-NCLIS, he served as Chief Scientist at Integrated Training Solutions, Inc., a small business in Arlington, Virginia. While at ITS, he served in a contractor role as the Chief Linguist of the National Language Service Corps. Prior to working at ITS, he was co-founder of the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland.

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