CODES Act Update


Introduced in Senate (06/25/2018)

Coding Opportunities and Development for Equitable Students Act or the High School CODES Act.   This bill amends the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to direct the Department of Education (ED) to carry out a coding demonstration program. Under the program, ED shall award grants to local educational agencies for the establishment or expansion of programs that allow high-school students to take a coding class in place of a mathematics, science, or foreign language class as graduation requirement.  Track this bill here.


On June 26 (2017), the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) unanimously passed H.R. 2353, a key hurdle to reauthorize the Perkins Act. It comes after years of delays and direct lobbying from businesses and the President’s own daughter. The House passed their version of the Perkins Act reauthorization back in June 2017. The Career and Technical Education Research and Outreach Act of 2018 emphasizes technical education to prepare students K-12 for America’s 21st century economy. Senate and House leaders are eager for a sure bipartisan win ahead of November’s midterm elections and before the end of the legislative session, potentially putting Perkins on the fast-track to the President's desk. It now awaits a floor vote in the Senate, which has yet to be scheduled.

Although amendments were not allowed in the Senate HELP Committee, amendments to the bill may be offered during the floor vote. JNCL-NCLIS is closely monitoring a potential amendment called the High School CODES Act, which is a serious threat to the integrity of high school language programs in every state of the Union. The CODES Act amends the Perkins Act by establishing a competitive grant that would be available to local educational agencies (LEAs) with “programs that allow high school students to take a coding class in place of a mathematics, science, or foreign language class in order to fulfill a graduation requirement.”

As has been previously published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), "the study of computer coding does not allow students to gain the intercultural skills, insight, and perspectives to know how, when, and why to express what to whom." By classifying computer coding as a foreign language credit, this program --and others like it-- encroaches on the limited resources normally allocated to foreign language departments, already suffering from a major teacher shortage.

JNCL-NCLIS and its members strongly oppose limiting students' opportunities to study world language. The CODES Act and other bills like it that incentivize the replacement of world language education represent an existential threat to the language community and a gross misunderstanding of the practical needs of the globalized 21st century economy. JNCL-NCLIS and its organizational members ask you to write to your Senators today regarding the community's concerns. Click the link below to use the form email provided by ACTLF. 


Seal of Biliteracy

The seal certifies that a student is proficient in all modes of a language, such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students will be assessed in their junior or senior years for language proficiency. Qualified students will receive a seal on their high school diploma to signify the award along with a certificate of achievement. 

Want to get involved?

The Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) hosts its annual Language Advocacy Day and Delegate Assembly each year in Washington, DC.  To participate from home, the JNCL-NCLIS has published a Social Media Guide and Message Templates for communicating with your representatives.  If you would like to go to Capitol Hill or learn more about how you can advocate for languages, visit the JNCL-NCLIS online here.

AWLA Advocacy Chair, Nick Gossett and AATSP Executive Director, Sheri Spaine Long advocating for us at Advocacy Day 2018.

Motivate & Advocate

AWLA's mission is to motivate educators to contribute to and to advocate for improved world language learning environments for all students at all levels. AWLA is working to raise public awareness on the benefits of language learning in order to influence the direction of world language education in Alabama. Our goals include:

  • To advocate for world languages at all levels (including adding more elementary and middle school programs)
  • To advocate for a world language proficiency requirement
  • To educate administrators on the specialized needs of world language teachers in the classroom
  • To motivate teachers to improve their language skills
  • To encourage teachers to use the latest language learning methodologies and technologies in the classroom

Advocacy begins with you!! How can you advocate? Check out these 8 Easy steps to become an advocate!

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