Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education



Published in Foreign Language Annals 51 (2018), pp 12–23.

doi 10.1111/flan.12310


Copyright © 2018 by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; published by Wiley. Used by permission.


Challenge: Language educators play a significant role as agents of change both within our classrooms and beyond. How can we position languages and help policy-makers and administrators at the local, state, and national levels to value multilingualism and multiculturalism as an integral and essential part of every learner’s education? What will that “new normal” look like?

Abstract: How close are we to the reality of all students having the opportunity to learn another language and gaining support for these efforts from the general public? The answer has a long history, which we point out by referencing articles that span the 50-year history of Foreign Language Annals. From the 1979 President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies report under President Jimmy Carter (Perkins, 1979) to the recent article by Kroll and Dussias (2017) on the benefits of multilingualism, this article tracks ACTFL’s advocacy efforts over the years, including the 2017 launch of the Lead with Languages public awareness campaign and other initiatives such as the Seal of Biliteracy that are rapidly propelling our field closer to a “new normal” in the United States where language education is accessible to all and is viewed as essential to the well-being of all Americans.