Council for the Development of French in Louisiana

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The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL; French: le Conseil pour le développement du français en Louisiane) is Louisiana's Office of Francophone Affairs (French: Agence des affaires francophones). It is a state agency whose multiple legislative mandates include developing opportunities to use the French language in tourism, economic development, culture, education and international relations.[1] CODOFIL is governed by a board of 23 members and administratively placed within the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development's Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, overseen by the Lieutenant Governor.[2] CODOFIL is the only state agency in the United States whose purpose is to serve a linguistic population.

Today, CODOFIL's role is to promote and support French immersion and French as a second language in education; it acts as a partner to the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), whose role is to manage Louisiana's school districts. CODOFIL continues to recruit and sponsor French, Belgian and Canadian associate teachers as per its accords with those countries, who are placed alongside local teachers upon LDOE's recommendation. CODOFIL encourages Louisiana Francophones to continue transmission of the state's heritage language via its scholarship program (providing opportunities for pedagogical advancement) and the Escadrille Louisiane program (which allows non-native speakers to perfect French at the Université de Rennes in exchange for a minimum 3-year teaching commitment of French in Louisiana).[3]

CODOFIL has also worked to instill pride all Louisiana Francophones in their linguistic identity rather than to uphold one variety of French language or another.[4]

Mission and vision[edit]

CODOFIL's mission is to "work toward the creation of an eco-system that permits the development of French in the economic, educational, cultural and professional sectors and in which Louisiana's French and Creole speakers are valorized in their cultural and linguistic identity." It seeks to "provide access to economic, educational, cultural and professional opportunities in French to all Louisianians."[5]

Board[edit]

CODOFIL originally consisted of a chairman and an advisory committee, all appointed by the governor of Louisiana. Today it is administered by a president, an executive director, and a board of as many as 23 non-paid directors. In addition to the governor, various Louisiana organizations nominate and select board members, who serve for a term of 4 years.[6]

History[edit]

James R. Domengeaux, a former state legislator and former United States Congressman of ethnic French descent, was the driving force behind CODOFIL's creation. A semi-retired attorney at the time, Domengeaux began his crusade for restoring French in Louisiana after Senator Edgar G. "Sonny" Mouton, Jr., of Lafayette obtained passage of an "urge-and-request" resolution for Louisiana school boards to help reverse the decline of the use of the French language within the state. Domengeaux traveled around Louisiana to gain support for his campaign to make Louisiana a bilingual state through French language education. By the spring of 1968, Domengeaux had gained enough interest from the public and support from officials, to present his plan to the legislature. Legislators voted to create CODOFIL, and the measure was signed into law in July 1968 by Governor John J. McKeithen,.[7] The law empowered CODOFIL to "do any and all things necessary to accomplish the development, utilization, and preservation of the French language ... for the cultural, economic, and tourist[ic] benefit of the State.”

Criticism[edit]

CODOFIL's early efforts to introduce French language education in public classrooms were criticized by many observers. They criticized its emphasis on international French instead of that common to Louisiana, and its use of Francophone teachers from France, Belgium, and Canada, rather than local teachers. Administrators were said to be deprecating toward the Cajun culture it claimed to be saving.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ "[1]." SB800 by Senator Eric Lafleur. Retrieved on July 8, 2013.
  2. ^ "[2]." CODOFIL. Retrieved on July 8, 2013.
  3. ^ [3] Retrieved on August 30, 2013
  4. ^ Shane K. Bernard, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003), pp. xx, xxii–xxiii, 18–19, 33–34, 83.
  5. ^ http://www.iberianet.com/news/i-m-cajun-and-proud-bills-in/article_be7b927c-a384-11e2-8906-0019bb2963f4.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ http://www.lawserver.com/law/state/louisiana/la-laws/louisiana_revised_statutes_25-651.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Simon, Anne (1977). "1". "CODOFIL: A Case Study of an Ethnic Interest Group" (Master of Arts). University of Southwestern Louisiana. 

External links[edit]