World Language Study in U.S. K-12 Schools

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American Councils for International Education unveils a comprehensive report on foreign language enrollments in primary and secondary schools across the United States.

American Councils for International Education unveils a comprehensive report on foreign language enrollments in primary and secondary schools across the United States.

Access to data on the distribution of enrollments among languages and grade levels is as critical for the nation’s economic planning and national security as information on K-12 math and science enrollments.

As U.S. schools are enrolling increasing numbers of students who speak a language at home other than English, and major world languages like Arabic and Chinese are being introduced into K-12 curricula in many parts of the country, educators and policy makers at the local and national level require comprehensive and reliable information on the numbers of Americans who will be entering higher education and the workforce in the coming years with the language skills necessary to ensure that America maintains a competitive position in the global economy and for meeting its national security requirements.    

As the demand for multilingual employees builds, a recent report, America’s Languages (2017), produced by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences at the request of a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators and Congressmen, concludes that the United States remains a monolingual society to its social, economic and national security detriment. The AAAS Commission offers a number of recommendations to help the U.S. alter its course, taking note of the particular importance of collecting and maintaining data on the state of language learning across the U.S.

“Access to data on the distribution of enrollments among languages and grade levels is as critical for the nation’s economic planning and national security as information on K-12 math and science enrollments,” notes Dan E. Davidson, President of American Councils, which implemented the new enrollment survey. “Such data yield important information about student demographics, availability of teachers, and levels of instruction by language offered around the country.”

To further these efforts, The National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report, sponsored by The Language Flagship at the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) and unveiled today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., offers an updated view of the state of language in the U.S. across the K-12 and K-16 educational continuum. A comprehensive study of world language enrollments across the formal U.S. education system, the report offers a closer look at language education in primary and secondary schools.

To read the full report and explore interactive language maps from The National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report, visit the American Councils for International Education website.

Interview Requests
To request an interview with American Councils President Dr. Dan E. Davidson, contact Christine Vivas: cvivas(at)americancouncils(dot)org or 202-833-7522.

About the Report
The National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report presents K-12 foreign language enrollment data in the United States, where more than 21 percent of households speak a language other than English at home.

The National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report is sponsored by The Language Flagship and National Security Education Offices (DLNSEO), conducted and published by American Councils for International Education in partnership with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), and the Modern Language Association (MLA), and in collaboration with the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL).

The Institute of International Education (IIE) administered the DLNSEO grant in cooperation with Bryn Mawr College. The survey data and report do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of IIE or the Government; and no official IIE or Government endorsement should be inferred.

About American Councils
American Councils was founded in 1974 to increase student, scholar and professional mobility and expand US international exchange, particularly with regions and cultures of the world that are less commonly studied in US education. American Councils specializes in credit-bearing immersion study and field research in the critical languages for American students, teachers and professionals. The organization operates in 80 countries of the world, employs over 500 professional staff, and counts over 75,000 alumni worldwide.

The American Councils Research Center (ARC), the research division of American Councils, seeks to expand the pool of policy-relevant data and research available to decision-makers at all levels concerned with language in education and the workplace.

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Angie Mareino
AMERICAN COUNCILS FOR INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION: ACTR/ACCELS, INC.
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