The Miseducation Along The Hill: Foreign Language Training vs. Freedom of Speech

Foreign Service Institute

Foreign language education is of crucial importance for the U.S. diplomatic, military, and professional staff in the country and abroad. This activity is designed to promote American values ​​and U.S. interests both in the world and across the country for foreign citizens and residents.

Primarily, foreign language courses are provided in the U.S. for governmental and private students by a network of governmental and non-governmental education agencies, including the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages ​​(ACTFL) .

The FSI, established in 1947, belongs to the State Department. It has four schools, including the School of Language Studies (SLS), which offers annual training in over 70 languages ​​and proficiency testing in over 100 languages for over 170,000 employees of the department, as well as other government departments, including military.

On the other hand, ACTFL is an individual membership organization of more than 12,500 foreign language educators and administrators from elementary through graduate education, as well as in government and industry.

This association extends its rules and instructions to the US private language school network.

Both agencies have their own certification systems for language testers.

The ACTFL uses an Obama-era 2009 Testing Procedures and Protocol Manual, incompatible with freedom of speech. Thus, Appendix A of the Manual provides specific instructions on topics to be avoided during language exam tests.

Initially, the so-called legal basis for obstructing the free exchange of ideas between the examinees and the testing team (consisting of tester and examiner) was deemed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It states that in the course of hiring, prospective employee may not be asked their age, sex, race, color, religion or national origin. Subsequently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has enlarged the prohibition to include: sexual preference, marital status, health, and political view point.

This legislation, it is claimed, is meant to protect the candidate’s personal rights and privacy.

Later on, ACTFL itself and added other subjects that are “highly sensitive or controversial in nature” including “some of the following”: abortion, gun control, racism, immigration laws, corporal or capital punishment, homosexuality, religion, war, political opinions, “etc.” (that is, the sky is the limit)! Thus, retrograde and unelected bureaucrats have come to arbitrarily extend the category of “controversial topics.”

Even when candidates or examinees have been volunteering to discuss such “highly controversial” topics, testers have been instructed to avoid said discussions in order not to make the candidate uneasy or lest the direction of the discussion be misinterpreted by the candidate.

More recently, in 2019, on the eve of entering the presidential campaign in 2020, new in-house instructions required that “any topic that may cause discomfort to the speaker or to the interviewer should be avoided at all times.” Instructions are applicable to “culturally sensitive topics on both sides” (candidates and testers) within the ACTFL and FSI systems. These topics include, but are not limited to, sex, politics, migration, religion, terrorism, drug legalization, the right to bear arms, kneeling during the National Anthem, or denigrating stereotypes.

On the other hand, among “topics to pursue” there have been included hate speech, environment, pollution, global warming, and globalism — all mantra subjects for liberals.

Until recently, the FSI had a slightly more balanced approach of administrating testing subjects, although overall, there has been also a noticeable drop in its academic standards. For instance, prior to 2015, examinees had to make a relatively formal mini-presentation on topics about America and its values. After 2015, as a result of students’ pressure, FSI adopted “more flexibility” (in translation: has lowered its standards) for mini-presentation, turning these into a more informal and less linguistically structured “explanation.”

A positive element, however, was the widening of the list of subjects in several areas, including political, military and diplomacy issues (including security).

As an experienced certified tester and examiner, I have had the opportunity to cope with these problems over time. But the dynamics on the ground show that language students (diplomats, military and other professionals) have been migrating constantly in the testing process (according to their own interests) from one system to the other (from FSI to ACTFL and vice versa). This trend has made the anti-Trump #Resist ACTFL instructions extend to the FSI. Here, given the well-known anti-Trump culture within the State Department itself, they have been adopted and expanded almost naturally.

The immediate effect was that many of the test subjects (especially those related to politics, military, and security) from both the FSI and private schools remain unused, being blacklisted.

“The Miseducation along the Hill” of our diplomats, military personnel, and other professionals is a time bomb for the Trump administration. It is one of the countless cases where anti-Trump unelected bureaucrats, guided by the principles of the #Resist movement, are sabotaging the administration’s policy from within to the last degree.

It is therefore imperative that both secretary of education Betsy DeVos an and especially secretary of state Mike Pompeo (between two of his diplomatic visits abroad) take decisive steps to eliminate such anti-constitutional practices, against freedom of expression, within governmental and non-governmental agencies. Otherwise, they will irreversibly mold the discourse about the American values ​​of our diplomatic, military, and specialized personnel both abroad and in the country in their relations with foreigners.

NOTE — Versions of the article were published in:

AMERICAN THINKER (El Cerrito/San Francisco, California) [30+ comments]

and

CARIBBEAN NEWS NOW! (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas — Miami, Florida) [4 comments]

and

INTELLECTUAL CONSERVATIVE (Phoenix, Arizona) [4 comments]

and

MARIANAS VARIETY (Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands) [4 comments]

and

MEDIUM (San Francisco, California) [100+ views; 4 comments; 50+ likes]

and

SAIPAN TRIBUNE (Garapan/Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands) [ comments]

***

and featured in:

320ro.com (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom) [ comments]

***

and

ACCENT (Toronto, Canada) [in Romanian] [ comments]

***

and

AFRO-CONSCIOUS MEDIA (Canada; Long Beach, California) [ comments]

***

and

ALTERNATIVA/THE ALTERNATIVE (Toronto, Canada) (_________ 2018) [in Romanian] [NOTE = scroll down on the journal’s home page to get the article and then press OPEN on the article]

***

and

ARMONIA/THE HARMONY (Hickory/Charlotte, North Carolina) [in Romanian] [ comments]

and also

ARMONIA MAGAZINE/THE HARMONY MAGAZINE (Hickory/Charlotte, North Carolina) [in Romanian] [ comments]

***

and

CARIBBEAN POST (Santiago, Dominican Republic) [4 comments]

and

CLICK ROMANIA (London, United Kingdom) [in Romanian] [5 comments]

and

CURENTUL INTERNAŢIONAL/INTERNATIONAL CURRENT (Sterling Heights/Detroit, Michigan) [in Romanian] [4 comments]

and

FIWEH (Okinawa, Japan) [ comments]

and

GÂNDACUL DE COLORADO/THE COLORADO BEETLE (Estes Park/Denver, Colorado) [in Romanian] [800+ views; 4 comments]

and

MENAFN (Amman, Jordan)

and

MIORIŢA USA (Sacramento, California) [in Romanian]

***

and

NAŢIUNEA/THE NATION (Bucharest, Romania) [in Romanian] [4 comments]

and

NEW YORK MAGAZIN/NEW YORK MAGAZINE (New York City, New York) [in Romanian] [4 comments]

and

OBSERVATORUL/THE OBSERVER (Toronto, Canada) [in Romanian]

and

OCCIDENTUL ROMÂNESC/ROMANIAN WEST (Madrid, Spain)

***

and

QOSHE (Netherlands & Turkey)

and

QWIKET (Kingston, New York) [ comments]

and

RADIO METAFORA (Oak Harbor/Seattle, Washington) [in Romanian]

and

ROMANIA JOURNAL (Bucharest, Romania) [2,000+ views; 4 comments]

and

ROMANIAN TIMES (Portland, Oregon) [in Romanian]

and also

ROMANIAN TIMES (Portland, Oregon) (print edition, p. 15) [in Romanian]

and

SAVE AMERICA FOUNDATION (Clearwater, Florida)

***

and

TIMP ROMÂNESC/ROMANIAN TIME (Bucharest, Romania) [in Romanian] [ comments]

***

and

TRIBUNA ROMÂNEASCĂ/ROMANIAN TRIBUNE (Chicago, Illinois) [in Romanian] [ comments]

***

and

TRUMP’S MINUTEMEN (Fort Worth, Texas)

and referenced in:

CENTRUL DE PRESĂ — PRESSPEDIA/THE PRESS CENTER — PRESSPEDIA (Bucharest, Romania) [in Romanian] [+ views]

***

and

CURENTUL INTERNAŢIONAL/INTERNATIONAL CURRENT — FACEBOOK (Sterling Heights/Detroit, Michigan) [in Romanian]

and

EIN NEWS US POLITICS TODAY (Washington, DC)

and

MUCK RACK (New York, New York)

and

OBAMA LIES

and

PRESS RUSH (Turku, Finland)

***

NUMBER OF PUBLICATIONS = 26

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Tiberiu Dianu

Tiberiu Dianu

TIBERIU DIANU is a Washington, DC author of articles and books of law and politics. See: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=tiberiu+dianu&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_1