Community-Based Heritage Language Schools

Community-Based Heritage Language Schools

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeritageLanguageSchools

There are thousands of community-based heritage language schools across the United States, teaching hundreds of languages. ­Joshua Fishman identified 1,855 schools in the 1960s and 6,533 in the 1980s (Fishman, 1966, 1985, 2001). The Coalition, established in 2012, seeks to connect, support, and advocate for these schools and build their visibility as a significant part of the national language learning landscape.

Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools

The Coalition does the following:

Collaborates with a group of Language Representatives, who represent the languages taught in community-based schools, are often teachers and administrators in these schools, and connect with their language communities and engage them in Coalition activities.

Documents community-based schools across the United States. Our goal is to document the thousands of schools teaching hundreds of languages that Joshua Fishman described. We have a long way to go!! If you know of schools, please ask them to complete the school survey. Here you can see a map of the schools documented at this point.

8th Annual 2021 Heritage Language Schools Conference

Register now to attend the 8th Annual Heritage Language Schools Conference!

Hold an annual conference, which brings together school representatives across the country for panel discussions and workshops. The next conference will be held online Friday and Saturday, October 8 and 9, 2021, with an on-site component at American University in Washington, DC. Registration will begin in July. Please join us and let your heritage language colleagues know about it!

You can learn about and register for the conference and other activities by signing up for our newsletter. Newsletter (heritagelanguageschools.org)

If you would like to get involved in other ways, contact Joy Peyton, joy@peytons.us, Coalition President.

The America’s Languages Initiative for Equal Access

The America’s Languages Initiative for Equal Access

The America’s Languages Initiative for Equal Access: Promoting Systemic Change for Language Education in the U.S.

Language enrollments in the United States have seen little change in the past half century, remaining at approximately 20% in grades K-12 and 8% in higher education. One reason for these continually low percentages is the perception in this country that English is sufficient as the language not only for communication in this country but for international engagement as well. Another reason is our consistent failure to make language education truly accessible and relevant to all learners in this country who need and desire it, so they have access to jobs here and in other countries, health and legal services, and a sense of being world citizens. The future of language education depends on genuine systemic change, by dramatically increasing access to demonstrably effective instruction for all Americans in all of America’s languages.

“…a national strategy to improve access to as many languages as possible for people of every region, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background…” 

America’s Languages, Executive Summary

The goal of this initiative is to promote, create, and sustain systemic change in the ways that language education is perceived and implemented in the United States, by demonstrating grassroots success in providing equal and equitable access to all of America’s languages for all learners. This includes individuals who often do not have access to schools and classes where these languages are offered — Black and People of Color; Native American, heritage, immigrant, and refugee populations; and people living in high-poverty rural and urban communities.

With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Initiative has developed the pilot Guide to Exemplary Programs and Practices in U.S. Language Education, where programs are identified and described, to serve as models for teachers, administrators, and funders to meet the needs of these communities of learners. America’s Languages Working Group members and Fellows, recognized educators and stakeholders, volunteer their time to build and populate the guide. In the fall, 2021, the guide will be finalized, and school leaders can apply to be included as exemplary programs or nominate other schools.

Joy Peyton is a Working Group member.

To learn more about America’s Languages Initiative, visit: America’s Languages for All Learners.