The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is a leader in the field of language education. Each year ACTFL hosts an annual convention with over 6,000 attendees. This has always been the place where hundreds of employees from the defense department and military attend to present their research findings and to learn from others in the field of language education. ACTFL has been a vital part of our national and international security efforts and continues to work with government agencies to make sure that their language proficiency levels are at their highest levels.
In 2012 our convention in Philadelphia was impacted significantly by the notification that employees would not receive funding assistance to attend our annual convention. Two weeks prior to the meeting we had over 30 sessions cancelled by those who were affected by this ruling. This had a major impact on our program and attendance, but beyond that it had an impact on the vital continuing education of those who serve our country. The expertise that is shared at the ACTFL convention is the single opportunity for government and academe to share research and best practice in the teaching of foreign languages. As we continue to see our language capabilities lag as a nation, surely this is an area where we should not limit government involvement. We need to build our language capacity and the ACTFL convention brings the synergy of the government and academic sectors together to share in this effort!
Our association feels strongly that each meeting should be judged on its benefit to those who might attend and not have an across the board mandate.