In an interconnected and rapidly changing world, many believe that America’s prosperity and economic strength depends on its students mastering a language other than English. Consequently, the government, both state and federal, are paving the way to get a multilingual workforce which will enhance their competitiveness in the future. One of the most well-known examples is the 1 Million Strong initiative, endorsed by the US and Chinese governments, whose goal is to expand the number of US students studying Mandarin to 1 million by 2020. Additionally, some states are now investing heavily in dual immersion programs with one major purpose: to increase their multilingual workforce so to attract new businesses to their states. New York is currently developing 40 new language-immersion programs in its school system. Montana, Delaware, Oregon, Washington, California, Texas and Utah are investing heavily in dual immersion programs. In the case of Utah, its Governor, Gary Herbert, set a target in 2010 for the development of 100 programs in intensive dual-language immersion programs serving 25,000 students by 2015. Utah met that goal two years ago, and the brisk pace continues with the launch of additional programs.
It is clear that there is a growing understanding that multilingualism is a key to future success. Last December 14, 2015, the Senate Education Committee favorably reported Senate Bill No. 3279 that establishes the State Seal of Biliteracy, a recognition for high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more world languages in addition to English. The purposes of the State seal are to: encourage students to study languages and promote foreign language instruction in public schools; certify attainment of biliteracy; provide employers with a method of identifying people with language skills; provide colleges and universities with a method to recognize and award academic credits to applicants seeking admission; prepare students with 21st century skills; and affirm the value of diversity and honor multiple cultures.
One month later, the New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, signed the State Seal of Biliteracy into law. New Jersey is now the 14th state to adopt it, and it is under consideration in a half-dozen more states.
However there is still a lot of work to do. There is a lack of resources in South Jersey regarding second language acquisition. The need for this type of educational resources is why we decided to create a non profit focused in helping families to achieve their second language acquisition goals.