Resolution on Maintaining a Balanced Basis of Foreign Language Learning in the US

June, 2006

Whereas, the traditional and well-established function of foreign language study for students of all ages as stimulator of cognitive development, facilitator of intercultural exchange and understanding, and source of personal and community enrichment is being systematically bent toward being exclusively a defensive skill to be directed against our political and economic opponents in the world,

and whereas, this strictly utilitarian and in most cases hostile use of language knowledge will leave a long-term legacy of language as a weapon on this and the next generation(s) of American families, reducing interest in the study of language in general,

and whereas, federal educational mandates such as No Child Left Behind and restrictions on K-12 federal funding of FL education are applying dangerous pressure to traditionally taught foreign languages in the United States,

Therefore be it resolved by the general business meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics convened on this 19th day of June, 2006, that AAAL urges Congress and the President to adopt a legislative policy for FL support that achieves balance in two critical ways: between national security needs and enrichment on the one hand, and between “strategic” languages and other valuable international and community languages on the other.