On June 26, 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.
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