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Heritage Program Funding Guide
The Heritage Program Funding Guide was developed by the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages to guide community-based heritage language programs in their efforts to seek funding. The process is designed for those with limited experience searching for and soliciting grant funding. Learn more.

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Research and Resources

In the News Archive

Number of immigrants hits record 37.5M
San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2007
Nearly one in five people living in the United States speaks a language at home other than English, according to new Census data that illustrate the wide-ranging effects of immigration.

The number of immigrants nationwide reached an all-time high of 37.5 million in 2006, affecting incomes and education levels in many cities across the country. But the effects have not been uniform.
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Students search for the words to go with their cultural pride
New York Times, May 7, 2007
CLOSTER, N.J. — Last summer, watching Al Jazeera’s reports of the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah, Fidele Harfouche was startled to realize that in addition to understanding the Arabic spoken by the anchors, she could, for the first time, read some of the words marching across the bottom of the screen.

Ms. Harfouche, 20, was born in Lebanon, but moved to this verdant Bergen County borough of 9,000 people when she was 6, before learning to read and write in Arabic, the language she and her parents still speak at home. Her mother often tried to sit her down for lessons, but Ms. Harfouche said she avoided them, feigning headaches or claiming that she was too consumed with schoolwork.

“I wanted to fit in so badly,” she said. “I figured if I practiced English, if I spoke English well, I’d be an American, like the other kids in my school.”

But during her sophomore year at Drew University, a small liberal arts college not far from here, Ms. Harfouche signed up for a class in classic Arabic in a quest to become fully literate in her mother tongue. It’s a move that many immigrants who came to the United States as children and those who were born here to immigrant parents have been making, said language experts, who refer to such students as “heritage speakers.”
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After-school institutions in Chinese and Korean immigrant communities: A model for others?
Migration Information Source, May 2007
The extraordinary educational achievement of the children of Asian immigrants has attracted a great deal of media and scholarly attention. The 2000 US census shows that about one-third of Asian Americans are US born and that 50 percent of US-born Asian Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 have at least a bachelor's degree — a rate more than 20 percent higher than non-Hispanic whites.

What is more striking is that young Asian Americans — not only the children of foreign-born physicians, scientists, and engineers, but also those of uneducated, low-skilled, and poor immigrants and refugees — have repeatedly shown up as high school valedictorians and academic decathlon winners, and have enrolled in prestigious colleges and universities in disproportionately large numbers.

Past studies have consistently found that ethnicity has varied effects on the educational outcomes of immigrant children. Asians fare significantly better than whites in school outcomes such as grade point average, while blacks and Hispanics fare significantly worse. Social scientists have attempted to account for significant intergroup differences either from a cultural or a structural perspective.

The exceptional educational achievement of Asian Americans has often been attributed either to Confucianism, which places high value on education (the cultural argument), or to immigration selectivity, which generally favors individuals from urban middle-class backgrounds (the structural argument). In the end, however, social scientists have used the "ethnicity" dummy variable to measure "culture" as well as "structure" but have kept the exact meaning of ethnicity in a black box.

This article seeks to explain the effect of ethnicity on educational outcomes by comparing the ethnic systems of supplementary education in the Chinese and Korean immigrant communities in Los Angeles. We trace the development of ethnic language schools and other private, ethnic, after-school institutions to illustrate how ethnicity can create tangible resources and an advantageous social environment conducive to education.
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S.D. lawmakers set up Indian education office
Sioux City Journal, March 5, 2007
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- South Dakota lawmakers have sent to Gov. Mike Rounds a plan to give South Dakotans a better understanding of American Indian culture by making it a permanent priority in public schools.

Both legislative chambers have passed a bill offered by the Republican governor that would set up an Indian Education Office and an Indian Education Advisory Council with representatives from each of the state's nine tribes.
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When foreign language isn't foreign
Inside Higher Ed, December 15, 2006
Vanessa Fonseca, now a graduate teaching assistant in the University of New Mexico’s Sabine Ulibarrí Spanish as a Heritage Language program, said it took her all of two minutes to figure out a non-heritage Spanish class she stumbled into as an undergraduate was not for her.

It wasn’t just that Fonseca and her sister comprised two of the three Hispanic students in a class of about two dozen. It was also that once her fellow students started speaking, Fonseca, who had been exposed to the language as a child largely through her grandparents’ conversations, in addition to her schoolwork, realized that she’d been misplaced. The other students were at a different level, she said. Not higher, not lower. Just different.

“I knew the first day of class that it wasn’t what I was looking for,” said Fonseca, who quickly switched to the heritage language program, where she said a different instructional approach better suited her needs.
Read the full article online.


Association stresses importance of languages       
Indian Country Today
WASHINGTON - The Native code talkers of wartime and national lore took another tour of duty July 12, serving as the centerpiece of the National Indian Education Association's effort to win congressional backing for Native language immersion school funding.

The Navajo and Lakota veterans, all in or near their 80s, needed all the military bearing they could muster for a day that began in the mid-morning on Capitol Hill and ended that night with a celebratory reception at the National Museum of the American Indian. They were still standing when NIEA President Ryan Wilson urged them to take a seat; and still a turnout in the hundreds couldn't get enough, snapping picture after picture as the crowd thinned. In the meantime, former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall hailed their accomplishments and the long track record of volunteer military service among Natives.
Visit the Indian Country Web site to locate this article in their archives.


Oneida Nation makes effort to save language
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , April 12, 2004
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Oneida Nation has signed a charter that outlines a language immersion plan for their tribal members in an attempt to revive the declining language. The plan calls for the hiring of a linguist fluent in the Oneida language to assist members in learning the language. In addition, the Oneida Nation is creating a teacher certification program to expand on the number of teachers teaching Oneida. The hope is that in seven generations the Oneida people will all once again speak their language. Although only about 5,000 members of the tribe live on or around the reservation in the Green Bay area, the plan calls for all 15,000 of its members around the world to speak Oneida fluently.
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Schools Tap Talent for Home Languages
Education Week, April 2, 2003
Spanish, so far, is the language that most public schools have focused on if they do provide classes for heritage speakers. Nine percent of the nation's high schools that teach foreign languages offer Spanish classes that are designed for native speakers, according to a 1997 survey by the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics.

But proponents of language classes for heritage speakers say the field lacks appropriate state language tests, teacher preparation, and directives from districts or states to require the classes when schools have a critical mass of heritage speakers.

To draw attention to their cause, the Center for Applied Linguistics and the National Foreign Language Center, located at the University of Maryland College Park, have co-sponsored two conferences since 1999 aimed at mobilizing teachers of heritage speakers. ("Support for 'Heritage Languages' Encouraged at Conference," Reporter's Notebook, Oct. 30, 2002.)
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The Answer Is On the Tip of Our Many Tongues
Washington Post, December 9, 2001
"FBI director Robert Mueller exposed one of the most glaring deficiencies in our intelligence capabilities when he made a public appeal for translators of Arabic, Farsi and Pashto, which some people took as the occasion to criticize foreign-language programs in American schools and universities. If the war on terrorism awakens some students and school administrators to the importance of language study, so much the better. But it would be a mistake to lay responsibility for our lack of strategic language resources chiefly with schools or universities -- or to believe they are in a position to rectify the problem."
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We Can't Squander Language Skills
Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2001, by Joy Kreeft Peyton and Donald A. Ranard
"After the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI put out urgent appeals for citizens fluent in Arabic and Farsi. The fact that the United States' domestic intelligence agency lacked the language resources to understand the intelligence it was gathering probably came as a surprise to most Americans but not to language experts. The FBI's language problem is part of a larger national problem that is rooted in the U.S. education system. But a solution lies within our schools too--with our immigrant students."
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