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Advocating for All French Programs

The AATF has been extensively involved in promotion and advocacy for French since the early 1990’s. Advocacy concerns efforts to influence decision-makers who determine whether French will be offered in U.S. schools and universities. This can involve individual teachers talking with administrators, school board members, parents, and others to maintain and support excellent French programs. It may also involve groups, AATF chapters, and state foreign language representatives lobbying state legislators regarding funding for languages or other legislation that might affect the teaching of language in the schools. More recently, we have been involved in establishing a Seal of Biliteracy in the states.  At the university level, it can involve working with administrators and within the faculty governance system to establish language requirements, special programs, or any other issue that might impact French programs.

At the national level, the AATF is a founding member and permanent board member of the Joint National Committee for Languages/National Council for Languages and International Studies. JNCL/NCLIS maintains a presence in Washington, DC and works to inform legislators and staff as well as government agencies about issues related to the study of other languages.


AATF Advocacy Initiatives

The newest AATF advocacy initiative is the K-12 First-Responder Advocacy Kit developed by Tennessee Bob Peckham, former chair of the AATF Commission on Advocacy.

The chair of the Commission on Advocacy, Kathleen Stein-Smith, has developed materials and an Advocacy Facebook page and Twitter feed @AATFComAdvocacy. for advocacy issues. Contact her at kathysteinsmith@gmail.com

The AATF Commission on Advocacy maintains a crisis response team to help teachers for whom a threat to their program is imminent. The Advocacy Depot provides a wealth of information, much of it state- specific for advocating for the study of French. It lists numerous resources and useful links for teachers who are preparing to address a group of decision makers. You can contact its creator T-Bob at bobp@utm.edu.

The AATF Advocacy Resource Bank, chaired by Past-President Margot Steinhart, has developed a number of materials and strategies for teachers to use when advocating for their program. These include video témoignages from former students, sample letters targeting a variety of audiences, and informational articles about the importance of French study. You can contact her at m.steinhart@sbcglobal.net.

AATF Flyers

The AATF has produced seven flyers targeting a variety of audiences. They can be posted on bulletin boards, distributed at parent-teacher conferences or open houses, shared with administrators and school board members, and used to convince others of the continued importance of learning French.

  • “Help Wanted: Encourage Students to Learn French” was developed by the AATF Commission on High Schools and targets school guidance counselors. It outlines how studying French can provide important career advantages for students. AATF members may receive a limited number of “Help Wanted: Encourage Students to Learn French” flyers for distibution to guidance counselors by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope with one or two first-class postage stamps to AATF Help Wanted Flyer, 302 N. Granite St., Marion, IL 62959-2346.
  • “French By the Numbers,” “French is Not a “Foreign” Language,” “Ten Reasons to Learn French,” “Why Learn French?” and “Speaking French: An Investment in the Future” all focus on various features that make French a global language to learn in the 21st century. To request sample copies, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Sample Flyers, 302 N. Granite St., Marion, IL 62959-2346.
  • “Why French FLES*?” offers reasons for beginning the study of French at a young age. Use it to promote the importance of beginning French language study early in the elementary school grades. The flyer and the accompanying video can be used to recruit students, lobby for new programs, or defend existing programs.

All of these flyers can be viewed and ordered in our Online Store. For member and nonmember pricing information, check the store. If you do not wish to order through our store or need to pay with a purchase order, please contact AATF Headquarters.

Articles on Advocacy

The AATF has published a number of articles on advocacy for French in the National Bulletin. Click here to consult these articles.

Created:November 8, 2013
Last update: February 28, 2019

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