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ABSTRACT: This article reviews selected national policy recommendations and examines their impact on state policy making in Iowa, specifically in terms of the number and quality of Iowa elementary school foreign language programs and teacher qualifications from the mid-1980s through the 1990s. Understanding the effect that these policies have had on early language programs in Iowa may help the profession determine the impact of national policy on state educational programs. This study suggests that future research on the impact of national policies in other states can help professionals design strategies for shaping policies in support of foreign language programs that begin in the early grades and continue through secondary school, building skills across levels.