Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SJR0068
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Full Text of SJR0068  96th General Assembly



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2     WHEREAS, In 2006, the federal Secretaries of State,
3 Education, and Defense and the Director of National
4 Intelligence joined together to take part in an initiative to
5 dramatically increase the number of Americans learning and
6 teaching foreign languages of critical need for reasons of
7 national security and global competitiveness; and
8     WHEREAS, In 2008, the initiative, entitled the National
9 Security Language Initiative, designated certain languages to
10 be categorized as "Critical Need"; and
11     WHEREAS, The National Security Language Initiative was
12 implemented on the notion that recognizes that "speaking
13 another's language promotes understanding; conveys respect;
14 strengthens our ability to engage foreign peoples and
15 governments; and provides others with an opportunity to learn
16 more about America and its people"; and
17     WHEREAS, In 2008, Arabic was one of the languages
18 designated as a "Critical Need" language; and
19     WHEREAS, The National Security Language Initiative
20 provides for federal funding for language instruction under
21 Foreign Language Assistance Program grants; and



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1     WHEREAS, In 2008, federal grants have been used to aid in
2 instruction of Arabic in Illinois programs, such as grants
3 totaling $240,000 allowing for summer instruction for Chicago
4 public school students to intensify their Arabic at the
5 University of Chicago; and
6     WHEREAS, To date, this State still remains to be
7 startlingly under-represented among Foreign Language Assistant
8 Program grant recipients; and
9     WHEREAS, The State Board of Education also designates
10 funding for an Arabic Language Initiative under its Arts and
11 Foreign Language Education Grant Program; and
12     WHEREAS, In May 2008, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced that
13 Chicago public schools were initiating a $1,000,000 expansion
14 of the Critical Languages Program; and
15     WHEREAS, Concerned local communities of this State have
16 initiated a concerted effort since the creation of the National
17 Security Language Initiative to propose the introduction of
18 Arabic as a foreign language option for high school, junior
19 high, and elementary school students; and
20     WHEREAS, The concerted effort has included numerous signed



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1 petitions, town hall meetings, and numerous personal
2 one-on-one meetings with principals, students, teachers,
3 parents, and superintendents; and
4     WHEREAS, These concerned communities have continued their
5 efforts to maintain the goal of building a competitive
6 advantage for Illinois students in a changing global dynamic;
7 and
8     WHEREAS, A few public schools in this State have already
9 begun to offer Arabic as a foreign language, such as Lindblom
10 Math & Science Academy, Lincoln Park High School, Roosevelt
11 High School, Volta Elementary School, Durkin Park Elementary
12 School, and Peck Elementary School; and
13     WHEREAS, Funding options, research, and community interest
14 have shown Arabic to be a foreign language that will be a
15 welcomed option in school districts, providing competitive
16 advantage for students in this State; therefore, be it
19 CONCURRING HEREIN, that we encourage school districts in this
20 State to explore the introduction of Arabic as a foreign
21 language in their curriculum, particularly school districts
22 that have constituencies with an interest in the instruction of



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1 Arabic, through a transparent and collaborative process with
2 the community that takes full advantage of State and federal
3 funding resources; and be it further
4     RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
5 delivered to the school districts of this State.