First-Responder Advocacy Kit

State First-Responder Pages
AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NYOH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, Washington DC. Alberta, British Columbia coming soon.

AATF K-12 First-Responder Advocacy Kit
Please read this introduction before you access the state pages.

AATF K-12 advocacy generally treats identified specific and diverse problems associated with French language and culture programs in defined geographic locations. Within that context it seeks to influence public policy and resource allocation decisions of specific political, economic, and social systems and institutions. It generally occurs as a reaction to plans for cutting back on course offerings or the elimination of an entire program, and you do it because you have to. 

Teachers who want to assure the safety of their programs or those of  colleagues must be willing to participate in the defense of these programs, and deal effectively with the following five issues:

Image - 

You are not someone who just teaches French courses at school X. You are part of the French and/or the foreign language "program".

Your program can reflect anything taught in your school, because it allows students to acquire a general communication tool, with literacy and numeracy.

It's not just about France, it's about French speakers, wherever they live and whatever they do.

The population of France is about 67 million, over 2.5 million of whom live in overseas departments. In addition, France has at least 6.5 million direct descendants of immigrants. Add that to France's 5.3 million immigrants and you have a large percentage of the French population not sharing what we have been taught is a traditional French cultural heritage. All together, the 67 million is only about 24% of the world's French-speaking population: 274 million, according to a recent OIF report. And in 2050, when that population reaches 700 million, about 85% will be African. Therefore, French is not any more about France than Spanish is about Spain or English is about England. Your program and its public image must reflect this.

Your students learn and take their knowledge outside the classroom through French Club, service projects, trips, games. etc.

People are aware of your program and the activities of your students through school media, radio/TV, newspapers, your contacts among colleagues, PTA school board or county board members, students, alumni, parents.

The image will be personalized by you, your students, and what you do in your program.

For balanced and consistent quality, you may be interested in the "AATF Exemplary French Program". The ACTFL standards should be given serious and active consideration.

Context  -

This is my school in its district , PTO, local school board, etc.

Anything my school says about itself reflecting interest in the international

School report card

Decision making route in my school and district

Funding: sources and distribution (local & state)

School Image (state report cards, academic rank, % college prep, numbers

The educational structure in my state:  Department and boards of education

Core status of foreign languages. How much required for graduation

Number of foreign languages offered. 

Longevity of French program

French-speaking sister city connection / French-origin place names

Somehow, the context also contains your program and recognizes it's image

Signs of trouble -

No state or district foreign language requirement

Compromise of language requirement (coding as foreign language, KY, TX, OK, FL, NM)

Any major change in state, district  or local education

Erosion or diversion of  tax funding away from schools, lowering of school tax

Current shrinking enrollment trends in French

French dropped in your district's sequence (elementary, middle, high school)

Single-teacher program, where teacher retires, or untenured/uncertified teacher

Difficulty in filling a French position

Introduction of partially funded new programs like Mandarin

Push for online programs or whole-program software like Rosetta Stone

Warning from colleagues, PTO or school board announcement

Mounting complaints from students and parents

School schedule interference with AP, IB or popular elective courses

Share signs of trouble quickly with local allies, and get feedback.

Allies and Connections -

Link from the French  Advocacy Wiki

Accept the idea of finding allies through networking, physically and by social media, and take action.

Your allies should be a regular part of your context.

Let your allies see your image and be observers and sounding boards for advocacy concerns.

Make sure your allies include students, parents, alumni, colleagues, counselors.

AATF & other language organizations, web, email, social media

Teachers from nearby college French programs

Alliance Franšaise, French Meetups, French Consulate & consul honoraire

Employees of businesses from or exporting to French-speaking countries

Politicians from county commissioners to state legislators

Argument [for maintaining your program] -

A high tide floats all boats, so support all the languages of your institution. Work toward a "core" status for foreign languages in your school, your district, and your state.

Some of your arguments may well come from allies.

In general, the support of local and regional allies who are not in your exact discipline is more effective than a letter of appeal from a remote official in a national organization.

Make sure your argument shows tangible benefits [cognitive and social development, career, geography and number of speakers, multi-cultural advantages] of French. Make sure you state that French's low level of difficulty means that it is learnable to a practical level. Explain, where possible, its importance for your state in business, ethnicity and history. Explain how French can reflect and reinforce consciousness and teaching of the others, and if you can, touch bases with vision goals, objectives and other statements made about your institution.

Remember, even the best arguments entering through the eyes and ears must also pass through the heart to produce favorable action.

Be ready to use online petitions or surveys only if you can envision how they will effect your administration's decision making.


The AATF has provided links to a number of specific state, regional and national resources in tables on "First-Responder Advocacy" pages, labeled BY STATE, but also baring AATF chapter names. The table rows are labeled according to three of the five issues: "Context, Allies, Argument". In some cases, we were unable to find the information for particular cells of the table.  Resources in the tables are state-specific. Not every state has the same available resources. For this reason, there may be additional or differently titles resources. Some table may have a different number of cells, and there may be additional links listed below tables.

Of the table row categories, the first is "Context", including National Council of State Supervisors for Languages State Report, your state's foreign language standards, common core standards, an assessment of your school (its report card),  French place names in your state,  your state's sister cities, department of education, board of education, andassociated boards of educayion. 

The second is "Allies [and connections]", including your chapter's AATF web and social media links, regional and local French consulate connections, universities in your state with French programs, Your state foreign language association and its social media, your regional foreign language association, your state's Alliance Franšaise chapters,a list of French Meet-ups which might include one near you, your state legislature and a large list of chambers of commerce associated with foreign direct investment from countries where French is an official language. To contact chapter and region officers, you must go to the AATF chapter page.

The third is "Argument". This focuses on aspects of your state's international business: exports, foreign-direct investment, and the US's biggest trading partner, Canada. I have tried to reinforce this with links to more general resources below.

Take care to think about the "context" where your image is visible. Remember not to criticize other foreign languages. Read the appropriate section of the "French Advocacy Wiki" and listen to allies to get new ideas for your argument.

General Resources for Argument

    Foreign Languages - An Essential Core Experience

    $$World Languages = Career Opportunities$$  


    FDI in U.S. Metro Areas: The Geography of Jobs in Foreign-Owned Establishments 

    The World Speaks French - French Advocacy Online Resource Wiki  

    AATF Commission on Advocacy Facebook   

    DEPOT - Ideas for French Language & Culture Advocacy in the US
    Usability of French

    How many jobs requiring some French are available in your state?

    Alignment - Standards for Learning Languages and Common Core State Standards

TennesseeBob Peckham , PhD
Director, Globe-Gate Research
Made in Tennessee to bring you the world