President Emmanuel Macron Announces New Comprehensive Initiative to Support Equity in Access to French Language Education in the United States
Washington DC, December 2022 – In New Orleans, on the occasion of his state visit—the first of Joe Biden’s presidency—French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new initiative to support bilingualism and access to French language instruction across the United States: French for All.
Languages are more important than ever to understand diverse communities, excel in business, and tackle global challenges. Yet in the US only 20% of students in K-12 institutions and higher education are enrolled in foreign language courses (The National K-16 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report, American Councils, 2017).
Founded on the principle that foreign language education should be a right, and not a privilege, French for All supports the expansion and enrichment of French language education and bilingualism in the United States from kindergarten through higher education.
French for All encompasses four initiatives:
- The French Heritage Language Program, launched in 2005, helps francophone immigrants and young Americans with francophone backgrounds maintain their linguistic and cultural heritage. For more than 11 years the program has supported students’ language skills, which are an invaluable social, academic, and professional asset, through programs such as AP coursework, college prep, and programs in the arts, all with a spotlight on West African and Caribbean cultures.
- The French Dual Language Fund, launched in 2017, expands and supports bilingual K-12 programs in American public schools. These programs focus mainly on Title 1 schools, where the majority of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The French Dual Language Fund supports communities in 182 schools over 30 US states and counting.
- The French in Higher Education Program, launched this year, addresses the ongoing loss of foreign language departments across American colleges and universities. It supports the modernization of French departments through calls for projects which encourage innovation in teaching, as well as faculty training and professional internships in France for American students.
- The New Pathways to Teaching French Program, launched this year, targets the shortage of foreign language instructors in American schools (America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century, American Academy of arts and Sciences). The program leverages the skills of French-speaking Americans of all backgrounds to train a new generation of French teachers, notably through the creation of a dual Master’s Degree in education together with French and American universities, and through the annual sponsorship of 200 scholarships for American language assistants in France, to build pathways toward teaching.
Addressing crucial steps in the journey of language learning through a comprehensive and expanding network of programs, French for All aims to make bilingualism accessible to a wider and more diverse audience, equipping the next generation of learners with the tools they need to succeed in a globalized world.
French for All is made possible through the generosity of Chanel, Société Générale, the Jane and Alfred Ross Foundation, the Jeannine Manuel Foundation, the Joly Family Foundation, and the John & Cynthia Reed Foundation.
Foundations, corporations, and individuals are welcome and encouraged to support foreign language education in the United States through French for All.