WLA was founded less than 18 months ago by Trisha Conroy,
a concerned parent living
in Miami. WLA was founded on the basic
premise that Americans are woefully unprepared to meet the global demands/obligations that will be thrust upon our next
generation; woefully unprepared to maintain the unparalleled standard of living that
has blessed our nation since post-WWII. I said Americans—not America. American
business will continue to morph into whatever form necessary to keep its edge—it is
the American worker who is going to be left out in the cold. Social services, affordable
education and a lack of debt will continue to decline in tandem with the increased education and economic development of our “new” competitors. New includes Southeast
Asia, Eastern Europe, India and Latin America. They represent 50% of the world’s population--nations that weren’t even “in the game” for the bulk of the 20th Century.
In the context of the new “flat world,” it is imperative that America implement a globally oriented standard of education to prepare our young people for leadership positions in the 21st Century. Currently, there are 110 million students in China studying English daily vs. less than 50,000 American students studying Mandarin. China has done an unprecedented job of lifting millions of its citizens out of poverty. In twenty years, the
adjusted salary in China has grown fourfold. China, today, can boast of having more families living in the middle class than America!
Initially motivated to educate my daughter, my thoughts changed after visiting some schools in Miami.
I was met with such a positive response to the introduction of Chinese
Instruction and sister-school affiliations,-- combined with the reality of inadequate funds,
if any at all existed for FL departments--that the nucleus of WLA was created. Simply put, if our schools worked collectively as a group, we could realize enormous economies of scale for professional development programs, attract national leaders in education to travel to Miami to address our schools, develop a support system for our FL teachers,
and create an awareness of each other’s curriculum to provide for a more seamless
matriculation for language study from one school to another.
To date, WLA has organized, sponsored and/or underwritten the following:
- Attendance at State and National FL conventions
- Sponsored early childhood Spanish language workshop.
- Brought National level educators to Miami to discuss establishing programs, development and preparation for the introduction of Chinese AP in 2007.
- Brought not-for-profit organization to Miami to develop sister-school affiliations
- Brought publishers of interactive language programs to Miami to present to schools.
- Developed relationship with the Chinese consulate in Houston. Consulate has sent representatives to Miami to present both their on-line language program as well
as to discuss the establishment of “Confucius Institutes” throughout America.
- Invited the Chinese Minister of Education to address both State and National Head of School Organizations.
- Developed ties with FIU and funded class and BLOG projects.
- Organizing Head of Schools trip to sister-city Qingdao.
- Liaisoned with City of Miami officials on development of programs between Miami and Qingdao.
- Sent my daughter to Kindergarten in Beijing for the Fall semester. While there, visited potential sister-schools in Qingdao and worked with publishers of Better Chinese.
- Researched national organizations and disseminated information at local level.
- Co-sponsoring first Chinese pedagogy workshop in the State.
- Invited/organized first visit to Miami schools by the Minister of Ed from the Chinese Consul General's Office.
- Involving the University of Florida with various statewide initiatives.
- Involving the CLASS organization for on-going pedagogy workshops.
WLA will be filing for 501(c)(3) status in the near future. WLA needs your support to
continue and expand its activities. Please pass this information on to parents in your
schools, friends and community leaders. We need our community’s support
for everything from underwriting future programs to simply hosting
out-of-town teachers during professional development activities.
In closing, I would like to thank our educators for all they
are trying to accomplish for our children. It gives me great
pleasure to tell you that of the 10 schools approached in the
Greater Miami area, ALL have either implemented programs or are
currently in the development stage for the introduction of Chinese
in our schools. A few years ago, there wasn’t one school in the
State offering Chinese. We have linked our schools with others
in the State, bringing the current total to 26 (there
were only 18 schools on March 1, 2006 when this website was created)
at the pre-collegiate level plus 5 more at the university level. Congratulations! I cannot stress how
important other nations are focusing on education today, so I
will let you read it for yourselves…
“ On Wednesday, the years of investment and hard work came down to an eight-hour
test. Subways and buses extended rush hour schedules while all airplanes were
grounded at Incheon for15 minutes from 8:40 a.m. and for 20 minutes from 1:20 p.m. to avoid disturbing students during a listening test.
The Korea Stock Exchange and government offices opened an hour later than
usual to keep roads clear for students, and the police stood by to drive those who
overslept to their exams.”
----The International Herald Tribune, Nov. 24, 2005
World Language Advocates of Greater Miami