We often hear our leaders talk about the importance of a 21st Century education, and the need for our future graduates to compete in the global marketplace. World language education is a critical component of the nation’s future competitiveness. Your Senators and Representative need to hear from you. If Congress doesn’t act, major cuts to world language and other vital education programs could take effect.
Take action now against HB 4315 & 4316
The world language graduation requirement of the Michigan Merit Curriculum is again under attack. HB 4315 and HB 4316 currently under consideration in the Michigan House Workforce and Talent Development Committee would allow credits in other disciplines, including computer coding or science, visual, performing, or applied arts, or career and technical education to replace world languages credits.
The Michigan World Language Association strongly opposes any legislation that would weaken or eliminate the world language graduation requirement. We have voiced our opposition to these bills in written testimony. However, the committee also needs to hear from YOU and others who oppose these changes and support world language education in Michigan.
These bills will be considered by the committee at their meeting this Tuesday, March 28. Please act now!
Send letters opposing HB 4315 and 4316 to:
Workforce and Talent Development Committee
House of Representatives
c/o Clerk Ian Mays
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
Because the bills have not been referred to the full House yet, please do not contact your district’s representative unless they sit on the Workforce and Talent Development Committee. If the bills are voted out of committee, that will be the time to contact your representative. MIWLA is actively monitoring these bills and will send updates as they become available.
You may find the draft bills, testimony, and committee member information here. Talking points and suggestions for drafting your letter are below.
Thank you for adding your voice to the opposition of HB 4315 and HB 4316.
Please contact Julie Foss, MIWLA Public Affairs Liaison, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Drafting your letter
General tips for writing to legislators can be found here.
The following talking points are provided to help you draft a letter to the Committee, however, the most persuasive testimony is personalized and not simply a cut-and-paste of these points.
- All of the disciplines described in these bills are indeed 21st-century skills, but they are not interchangeable.
- World languages is the only of the disciplines described in these that allows students to develop the skills necessary to navigate the 21st century’s linguistically and culturally diverse world and workplaces.
- The recently released report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ bipartisan Commission on Languages, America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century, concludes that educating students to be competent in another language is essential to our nation’s economic growth, competitiveness, and national defense.
- The report also presents evidence that language study benefits students’ overall academic achievement, enhances cognitive ability, and helps students develop the kinds of interpersonal skills they need to succeed both professionally and personally.
- Advocates for computer science education including the non-profit org formally oppose classifying computer science as a foreign language in graduation requirements.
- The existing graduation requirements are not preventing students from graduating. As the Detroit News reports in an editorial opposing the bills, graduation rates have increased almost every year since the Michigan Merit Curriculum has been in effect, to nearly 80% in 2016 from 77% in 2013, and the dropout rate has decreased steadily, to 8.9% in 2016 from 10.5% in 2013.