Dual Language SchoolsReflecting on November

Author Photo: Dr. Bill Rivers

By: Dr. Bill Rivers

Executive Director of Joint National Committee for Languages

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.