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Should schools focus more on foreign languages?

March 8, 2013

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

With increasing awareness of our interconnected world, there is a call for more Americans to become fluent in a language other than English. But because of tight budgets, foreign-language requirements are going by the wayside in schools.

Only 10 percent of native-born Americans can speak a language other than English, according to an analysis of 2010 census figures. When immigrants were included, the percentage increased to 20.1 percent.

The U.S. lags behind nearly every other industrialized or rapidly developing nation in language instruction. In Europe, 53 percent of the students have mastered a second language, often English, while in the United States, the percentage is 18 percent. Many of those students have mastered the language through family and not in school.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he believed learning a second language was important. “To prosper economically and to improve relations with other countries,” Duncan said in 2010, “Americans need to read, speak and understand other languages.”

The percentage of public and private elementary schools that offer foreign language courses has decreased from 31 percent to 25 percent from 1997 to 2008, and in middle schools, the drop has been even more drastic, 75 percent to 58 percent. The percentage for high schools remained about the same at 91 percent, according to the Center for Applied Linguistics.

At the college level, 51 percent of colleges and universities have a foreign-language requirement for graduation.

Studies show that fluency in a second language has many benefits, especially in our globalizing world.

Mastering a foreign language can open up the world to students, giving them an advantage when they apply for college or for jobs. People who have mastered a second language tend to earn more and have access to better jobs. As companies, nonprofits and the government begin to look at markets abroad, knowledge of the language and the culture helps job seekers stand out, making fluency of a second language a marketable tool in the job search.

The Global Language Project, a New York based nonprofit, says that mastery of a foreign language is what can set a lower-income student who couldn’t afford access to the best education above that of their more schooled peers.

The lack of Americans fluent in a second language also affects national security.

In 2012, the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee held a hearing that declared a “national security crisis” because of the deficit of Americans fluent in less commonly taught languages that are important for U.S. strategic and economic interests, such as Farsi, Urdu, Pashtun and Mandarin. In global politics and in conflict, knowledge of the other languages is an advantage. The U.S. military is often scrambling to find bilingual recruits, and training officers and the enlisted personnel in another language.

What do you think?

Should there be a greater emphasis on foreign languages in high schools? How important is it to learn a foreign language? Would knowing a second language help you in your post-high school plans? Would more bilingual Americans benefit the U.S. economically and militarily? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Sidney, MT
Mr.Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think that schools should focus on foreign languages, because a lot of people need to know some of the languages around them.

Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think schools should focus more on foreign language because we are a a very diverse country as far as language is concerned. Learning a language(s) throughout your school career would benefit everyone because then we could communicate better with our diverse neighbors who might speak a different language. It would also give us a taste of the variety of cultures that exist in America or in other countries that may speak that language and how they compare to English-speaking America.

Magnolia, Tx
Mr. Metzger/Magnolia West
I believe that schools should not only focus more on foreign languages, but expand the amount of classes to chose from, to at least 3 or 4 instead of the current 1 or 2. This alone would greatly benefit the level of choice in what to learn. As a student who has an interest in German, Japanese, Romanian and Turkic cultures and histories, I would love to see the languages make their way into the U.S school systems. Unfortunately, I am a senior in high school and the only languages offered are very...bland in my opinion. That is only because just about every school teaches Spanish and some dominant European language. (Typically German and French) While I mentioned I would personally love to learn German not every student does. Foreign language departments deserve more choice in what to teach and bigger budgets.

Buffalo, NY
Mrs. Morrison
I've been learning French since the sixth grade, and I am currently a junior in high school. I love taking French and learning more about the French culture. Assuming that just because we are Americans means that we should only speak English is naïve and small minded. Did you know that the US doesn't even have an "official language?" We only speak English out of principle, not necessity. Adding another language to your repertoire is exceptionally important, and failing to do so is just limiting yourself.

Diamond Bar, CA
Mrs. Wong/ Lorbeer MS
I believe schools, academies, and colleges should focus on the variability of language courses. “Only 7% of college students in America are enrolled in a language course.” As a multi-cultural country, given the title “Melting Pot,” the number of foreign languages for American studies is minute. I acknowledge that there is a drought in teachers and mentors in the foreign language department, but the majority of our population are immigrants native to their language and culture. Schools as well as family members should encourage the study of different dialects, for it will be useful in their near future. During your occupations and/or travels, you meet knew people with different native dialects and cultures, meaning learning foreign languages could not just benefit you but also make the individuals you encounter feel confident in their native language.

Jerry Davis/Bloomsburg High School
I don not think that jobs should ask that question. I think if they are going to ask that question then i better be getting paid a lot.

Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I feel that school should focus on foreign language becuase most of the schools have many different culture,so that's means that they will speak different languages. I feel it's inporant becuase if we have to talk to someone in a different language,then we understand them. Kids and Adults travel,so we have to be able to see and speak other cultures. It also helps your college think that u speak different languages.

Stroudsburg PA
Mr.Hana/Stroudsburg JHS
I think schools in the USA should focus more on foreign language. With all this traveling and friendship s with other countries I think people should know another language. The USA isn't the only country in the world and people speak other languages and it's good to be able to communicate with them. And of course knowing a different language in the Military would be huge. Soldiers need to be able to communicate with the locals and other groups that may be helping them.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna/stroudsburg, JHS
I think school should focus more on foreign language beacause in USA there are millions of people who are from other countries who speaks german, spanish or french. And now days, in schools if there is a spanish kid. other spanishkid have to translate every single thing and its important to learn new languages.

Stroudsburg, PA
AJ Schito
Mr. Hanna
I think that schools should focus more on foreign languages. Learning new languages is an important part of finding a good job. If you need to travel too they may find their 2nd language helpful. Your whole career may need that language and to be able to expand your knowledge to another language is very valuable.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think it's very important to learn a foreign language and that it should be provided in all high schools. Leaning a foreign language can help in your future career, people who know a variety of languages are more likely to get better jobs than those who don't. I also think more Americans who know a variety of languages would benefit USA, since there are many people who come to America who do not speak English so many translators are needed these days!

Mr. Hanna/ JHS
I think that schools should put more focus on foreign languages. I think this because if a student wants to go do something, but no where in he school allows them, how will they be successful. Also,when a school has foreign lanuages, it gives the students more options in electives.

Stroudsburg PA
Mr.Hanna Stroudsburg JHS
I think that depending on how much the student wants to learn, some schools should focus on foreign languages more than others. Learning new languages is important for traveling the world. If you want to have a career that involved lots of traveling, you may want to be more educated in certain languages. Also if a student wants to learn more, they should always have that opportunity. So I believe that focusing more on foreign languages would help some students get further in life and help lead them in their career.

Mr. Thyre
I think that foreign language should be taught in school/ should be more focused on because in this day and age the world is becoming more globalized and not everyone speaks one language. In this day and age you need to be able to speak another language to get a better chance at a job or to even talk to people over seas.

I think that people should have to learn more of the root languages because i am currently learning Greek and Latin and it is helping a lot in Biology

Diamond Bar, California
Abigail P4
I do believe that foreign language should be offered in all high schools. The United States is known for its diverse culture and languages. Becoming fluent in a second language benefits you in various and sometimes unexpected ways. For example, you might have a better chance into getting your desired college and a good job. Speaking in a second language is useful. Foreign language in high school offers a free class instead of paying hard-earned cash for tutoring. Also, students could be able to travel to the country where the language is spoken. Having conversations with people who have migrated to the U.S. and aiding them helps a community of different people join together. Americans who are bilingual tend to be a little more open-minded about the international world. Many students could complain but it is only helping them become better citizens of tomorrow.

Mr. Rimas
In my opinion, I don't think it's a good idea to have a foreign language in school. If people would like to learn a language, take some courses outside of school. Math, science, English, and history are more important.

Sidney, MT
Heather Chreiman
Mr. Faulhaber Sidney High School
Foreign language shouldnt be a requirment. Yes it may help the U.S. economically and militarily but its not the americans fault that foreigners come to the U.S. and don't know english. If we go out of the country we aren't forced to learn their language. So we shouldn't be forced to learn theirs in our counrty.

Ms. Comeaux
Being able to learn a foreign language in school and not have to pay a ton of money for a tutor outside of school is useful. Many high schools just have Spanish and French...I am currently learning Japanese so I have to buy the books and do personal study and try to buy classes. Learning a new language is very close to learning a culture so yes, it should focused more in school.

Mr. Hanna/SJHS
I do not think that schools should focus more on foreign languages. We live in America, our language is English. If someone wants to learn another language they can learn on their own time.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna/SJH
Yes. They should. Because some children would love to experience other cultures outside of what their parents would teach them.

Stroudsburg pa
Hanna stroudsburg jhs
I feel learning a foreign language while in school is a good idea, but should not be forced to take one. Foreign languages shouldn't be forced considering it is America and most everyone speaks English, but should be encouraged because many colleges and occupations prefer bilingual people.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna
I dont think that anyone should be forced to take a language although im sure it may be useful to learn. I am currently taking Spanish but i wouldnt be taking it if colleges didnt look for a language. According to my knowledge colleges like to see if you took a language because it shows them you can manage it. Depending on what you want to do in your future then you should/should not take a language. It is all the students choice though because being forced to take a language is unnecessary.

Stroudsburg/ PA
Karissa B.
Hanna/ Stroudsburg Junior High School
I do not see the point in learning smaller languages like mandarin if only 5 or so countries speak it. The fact in languages like mandarin today is that it is not standardized. When seperating those few countries into individual forms of mandarin we see a very large amount of groups with few connected. Most of those countries are enforced harshly to learn English. It seems to be, by global statistics, that English is one of or even the most spoken languages in the world. It is certainly the most spoken language in business terms. Learning a foreign language only has a best use in accordance to your college resume, but not much else. I only see it in importance when speaking of visiting another country that has a very small amount of english-speaking districts. There is already a large demand for the arts program and what not. Learning another language has very few benefits too whilst learning it, including the stress and time. Of course, like any other acquired ability, it would surely benefit one in some way or another helping the United States's intellectual statistics as a whole. Without further examples though I cannot say its worth in ordinance to the United States economically and militarily.

Stroudsburg PA
Nick Fedor
Mr. Hanna / stroudsburg JHS
No. This is America. We speak English. Not Spanish. Or any other language. If you want to talk in another language, buy Rosetta Stone or some app. Schools do not need to waste more money on students to learn other languages. And when the student fails it, do they get their money back? No. Rosetta Stone seems like a better path to me.

murrieta / ca
mr.jabro / creekside high school
no i honestly thing it should be a option because other places that speak a different language dont focus more on english than there own

Washington/New Jersey
Anne Marie
Mrs. Rokosny/ Warren Hills
Especially with the technological advances of the past couple decades, the world seems to be more connected and intertwined than ever before. It is easy to interact with people from different cultures on a daily basis. Because of these new realities, it is crucial that schools put a more serious focus on foreign language--maybe even making a point to ensure proficiency of the students in their chosen foreign language. Knowing and practicing a foreign language is very good for a developing mind, helping with memory, listening, and comprehension skills. It allows a person to connect with others on a whole different level. Many other nations put a large emphasis on students' proficiency and fluency in a foreign language, and this illustrates that the United States could benefit from this practice and philosophy as well.

Ms.Mercier/Phillippi Shores Elementary
i beleive that schools should teach atleast 2 foreign languages each curricculam.

prarire mount.

Of course learning a foreign language should be mandatory for students. Especially at a young age. It's easier for kids to catch on. Their brains, still in the process of development, make it a lot more easier to soak up the language. They might even consider taking on a third language. Benefits would follow in schools and in work. I mean this subject shouldn't be a debate. Imagine if you wanted to go visit a country. Let's say France for example. It would be so much easier to connect and to find help as well, instead of being conned when you don't know it by random strangers.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna
I think that schools should focus more on foreign languages, because it opens more opertunties for the near future. This would open more doors to education.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I don’t think schools should really focus on foreign language because I think it should be optional and if you have good grades because some students will not need to take foreign language if they will go to the military and e something that doesn’t need to know foreign language. Also, not all the schools have all foreign languages for example Arabic schools don’t have Arabic they only have French, Spanish, and German. Schools should focus on main subjects more than focus on foreign languages because most of the jobs that the students might work in will not need that. They will need the main subjects as math, language arts ,social studies.

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Brian Buzzard
Mr. Hanna SJHS
I feel foreign languages are important to study in school if you know all of the standard english. If youre in advanced classes you should learn to excell in another language. It teaches you responsibility and makes your overall knowledge higher. It also teaches you about other cultures and their benefits. Languages are helpfull to translate, get higher jobs, and get into colleges

Elena P.
Mr.Jabro/Creekside HS
Schools should definitely focus more on different languages, there are many different cultures that do decide to make the united states their home. We need people to help them learn english, and I think if kids in school right now are exposed to more foreign languages they'll be willing to want to teach english to the foreigners.

Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Schools should focus more on foreign languages, they can help open up more job options for you in the future. Also it will help you with communicating with others in the world. It could help improve your social skills too, by communicating with others in the world and learning more about their culture will help us in multiple ways

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
Schools should focus on foregin languages. I think it is important for us to be fluent in other languages. It would have positive effects. . It can give students an advantage for getting into collage. Also, when being in the military it can come in handy.

Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that the United States should focus more on second languages. Learning a language can improve Americans economically,politically, and finically. Mastering a foreign language can give students advantages when applying for college or jobs. Students who have mastered a foreign language also earn more money. Companies and nonprofits look for second language speakers. High school plans are not the only benefits. Did you know that security is benefited too? Not only is security benefited from second languages, but economics and military are benefited too. In world wide problems or economic problems, learning languages like Farsi is important. The military, on the other hand, has a hard time finding recruits or training officers that speak an second language. Therefore, more Americans should be taught second languages.

West Valley UT
Malcolm Harrison
Bonnie Gailey Hunter High School
I believe that the United States should have a greater emphasis on foreign languages and associated programs. The best way to do this is through dual immersion programs. My siblings are currently enrolled in a Chinese dual immersion program where they learn half the day in English and half the day in Chinese. This has 2 important, key factors: teaching at a young age and teaching them how to learn in another language. This program implemented in elementary schools nationwide is the best way to kick start the foreign language education in the United States.

Stroudsburg, PA
Carol Melo
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
i think they shoukd be a greater emphasis on foreing languagues in high school, and that hey sould be more langugues to take. If you know a languaue very well it will give you more opportunitites, and better jobs. it wiil give the country more bussiness and it wiil help the country economically. Also it may increase the alllies etween countries.

Timera T
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that schools should focus more on foreign languages. If the United States is known as a "melting pot", then why do we only learn French,Spanish, or German? I take French and in France they take 3 languages plus English. We are only required to take one but you never know if you are going to need to learn another language. Many colleges and universities also require you to know at least 2-4 years of a language. I believe that more bilingual Americans would benefit economically and militarily by knowing how to communicate with others from other countries.

Stroudsburg, PA
Ashley. C
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I think that foreign languages should be focus more in schools.I think this because knowing a didiffrent language is always good because then you cam travel the world. If Americans cam speak English fluently then they should learn to speak another language. Its always good to know another language too because somebody could be talking about you in another language and if you know what language they are speaking you can ease drop on that persons conversation. So I think schools should focus more on foreign languages.

Stroudsburg PA
Samantha I
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Yes, I believe that foreign languages should be more of a focus in schools. I feel this way because you never know where you will go on life as you get older. For example say you have a job that requires you to know a little bit of a different language when you get older. I also feel that it should be more if a focus because most colleges do require a foreign language. Therefore I feel that schools should make foreign languages more of a main focus.

Stroudsburg, PA
Audrey R
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe schools should start focusing more and emphasize the important of foreign languages. English should not be the dominative language- there is no escape from diversity. I am currently taking a Spanish class and I believe learning more languages are very beneficial. Tourism is a great way to explore and see different parts of the world, whether you are the tourist or tour guide, language diversity is something you will definitely encounter.

Stroudsburg PA
Talia g
Mr. Hanna stroudsburg JHS
I believe thy schools should focus more on learning foreign languages. Students should not have the choice of when and if they want to start it. I think all elementary schools should start teaching foreign languages. It will pay off by the time you are in high school because you will most likely be fluent in that language by then. It can help you get into good colleges and it gives you more job opportunities.

Stroudsburg, PA
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I don't think schools should focus more on foreign languages. If people want to learn a language schools can offer it but they shouldn't have it be required. Most colleges think that 2 years in a foreign language is good, and it is but it should be your sedition if you want to or not.

i think that the percentage of public and private elementary schools that offer foreign language courses has decreased from 31 percent to a 25 percent i think this shows that people are finally starting to pay attiation to others and what they do. the u.s. lags behind nearly every other industrialized or rapidly developing into or world now.

San Diego, California
Jerabek Elem.
A foreign language should be part of the core curriculum and not an elective. No second languages are taught at the elementary schools. And at our middle school, students have on ly one elective and so are forced to choose between learning a second language or being in choir, orchestra or drama. At least one foreign language (probably Spanish) should be part of the regular school day with others available as elecitves.

Watertown, MA
Rimas, Watertown Highschool
I think schools should make foreign languages a focus, but not the biggest focus. Being able to learn a foreign language is a pleasure that not all students/people are provided with. I think knowing at least one foreign language is beneficial for a high school student. Nowadays knowing a foreign language is a must in the working world and as a school they are supposed to prepare their students with as much as they can.

Schools should focus more on foreign languages. Being fluent in more than one languages helps you more throughout your life. Foreign languages should be started in elementary schools, so students can lay the groundwork and understand the language, so it will be easier to become fluent by the time they get to high school

Schools should focus more on foreign languages. Being fluent in more than one languages helps you more throughout your life. Foreign languages should be started in elementary schools, so students can lay the groundwork and understand the language, so it will be easier to become fluent by the time they get to high school

Mr. Rimas
I think students should always offer foreign languages because it is always good to speak multiple languages. I don't think schools have to focus it more just always keep it as an option. I think focusing on the English language and it's grammar and spelling rules should be focused on more than foreign languages.

Watertown/ MA
Mr.Rimas/Watertown High School
The amount of foreign language being used in the U.S has been rising. Jobs have been requiring for at least being able to speak one or two languages, depending where you work. Schools should be focusing on teaching at the least, the basics of popular languages such as Spanish, French, and Italian, and requiring these courses to be taken (which most schools have been doing).

Rimas, Watertown high school
i think schools should focus more on the English language because you have some people in schools who cant even speak English. if your going to become a legal American citizen you should have to be able to read, write and speak English. Immigrants come here not knowing the language and get benefits and help from the government.

I think that in some ways it can be beneficial to learn more than one language. I dont think schools need to focus on it more but keep offering these languages just like they do now.

watertown ma
Rimas/ Watertown
i think schools focus too much on learning a foreign languages. instead schools should focus on learning our countries main language, english american. the reason i think this... well how many times have you gone to McDobnalds, or Dunkin Donuts and you give the person your order to who appears to be a foreign person and can barely speak english, then 10 minutes later. out comes the complete wrong order.... SPEAK ENGLISH

I think that everyone should learn to carry a conversation in a different language, but not need to know how to speak the language fully.

Mr. Faulhaber
I think that a foreign language is not that important. If you want to learn one you can learn one on your own time. High school shouldn't put all their focus on them, we should be focusing on science, math, and English, not foreign languages.

Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I think that learning a new language is important for a student to learn. With the increasing amount of foreigners we are getting in our country learning a new language will help us to be able to communicate with these new foreigners

A high school
I think foreign language should be taught at an earlier age. I didn't start learning Spanish til the 9th grade, even though science shows that young children learn languages much easier and faster. I'm in my third year of spanish and I'm still not fluent. So I'd like to Spanish being taught in early elementary school. There are many benefits of learning foreign languages besides the obvious. It improves your memory, builds multitasking skills, and even improves your English; I've probably learned more about the English language in Spanish class than anywhere else. I know many would disagree, but I would love it if all U.S. citizens were required to learn English and Spanish. I simply don't understand people who complain about having to learn a foreign language, and say they would rather just speak English. Language is such a wonderful and complex thing, and there's so many of them! I'd learn them all if I could. After Spanish I plan to learn German, Dutch, Mandarin, Russian, and if possible, Yiddish.

Sidney, MT
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I feel schools shouldn't focus more on foreign languages. In addition to foreign languages, schools are focusing on more math and sciences for elementary, middle, and high school students. The additional pressure to absorb more knowledge in a limited amount of time is either going to make students want to drop out of school, not put as much effort into learning, or not further advanced their education either at college or at a vocational school. Yes, foreign languages does have it perks when it comes to finding a job and, yes, even in a learning setting. But, if students already struggle in one subject, they aren't going to be willing to split there time to excel in all their classes. But, the definition of foreign language has some loop holes behind it. Most high schools teach French, Spanish, or in some rare cases, German. I, on the other hand, know Sign Language because I have a brother who is deaf. Technically, I already know a foreign language because I needed to know it so I could communicate with my brother. If students want to learn a second or third language to benefit themselves, communicate with family or friends, or expand their knowledge on something that is completely unknown to them, then I feel they should have the option of being taught a foreign language. But, if schools begin to focus more on a foreign language, they won't be able to expand their knowledge in all areas, thus they won't be able to use their foreign language outside of their school and community.

Mr.Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I believe schools should work on adding more languages to learn. In some cases like my school they only offer french and Spanish, not everyone wants to learn those two languages. Some people would like to learn more complicated languages such as Chinese, and German. So i believe they should focus on more foreign languages.

Belleville NY
Ithere are bigger ethnic group around us now than there ever has been. The foreign language will help you as a kid when you get a job.

Samantha S
The fact that I know to languages, is a blessing. I and many other were justborn into it, which makes us lucky., but if the apportunity is given to every student in America this would be a great thing. I don't see how there is any flaw in in a program like this. We as an advance country in this world should take the advantage given to us, and teach our student two set of language. If anything only better things would come out of it. In fact its best for a human to learn a language when they are young.

Benson, AZ
It would be a good knowledge to have if all students were able to learn a foreign language. With so many people coming from all over the world to live or visit in America it would be a good thing to be able to communicate with those foreign people and it would be helpful in expanding students' knowledge of the world.

lib belll
i love languages!!! they should definitely be in public schools. and not just online classes. I do not like online classes. they dont work for me.

Nope. This is america, we watch baseball, drink beer, dip, shoot guns and speak ENGLISH. Last i checked the constitution is in english. Thats what i say!

Benson, AZ
My school only has one formal foreign language class, Spanish. If you want to take a different language it has to be online. I feel that because of this, it is taking away the opportunities for students.

i think that our schools have a good amount of foreign languages beacaus unless you are going to another contanent or something all you realiy need to know is englesh and spanish.

In school they should emphasize more on foriegn laguages because first of all we have alot more foriegners coming to the United States an they speak alot of diffrent languages. An since our society is becoming more diverse we should adapt. Also on the plus side knowing a secong language will help you out alot more at most jobs you can get paaid more if you diverse and things like that.

Moore, OK
Mrs. Woodard
With the growing rate of other languages used in the United States today, a second language is beneficial in the process of obtaining a job or even connecting more with the society. The trait of having a second fluent language trumps most other qualities and shows the employer that you have the ability to dedicate yourself to learning, you have the ability to process a lot of information, you are more committed to connecting with others of different race and culture, and many other distinguishable qualities that most other people who don't take the time to learn, have.

In school they should emphasize more on foriegn laguages because first of all we have alot more foriegners coming to the United States an they speak alot of diffrent languages. An since our society is becoming more diverse we should adapt. Also on the plus side knowing a secong language will help you out alot more at most jobs you can get paaid more if you diverse and things like that.

North Star-Rudyard, MT
Mrs. Campbell
With all the immigration that has been happening in the United State, I do see the importance in foreign language. I think that it should be mandatory in junior high and then optional in high school but they are offered for student who would like to take them. Another possibility is to make Spanish mandatory freshman year and then be optional the rest of high school. Spanish is an very necessary today in order to preform a lot of jobs.

Samantha N. S.
Being fluent in a second language, any second language, is an important and vital part of today's society. The percentage of schools offering foreign language classes should be increasing, not decreasing. It would help place many people in better positions in the job market, and ensure better communication with foreign people and in foreign places. Americans need to be prestigious in all aspects, and how can we compete in a world where we can not communicate with many others? There are languages outside of English, and many countries outside of the United States. Many colleges require two years of foreign language by high school graduation and if a student doesn't have those credits, then the college places them in a language class, so taking it in high school would save many students some money.

i do believe that we should focus on other languages. and i agree with starting the option to take classes in middle school. the younger you learn it the easier it will be when you are older. we also should have more of a variety of languages.

rudyard MT
Mrs.Campbell/ Northstar
I think schools should focus little more on foreign languages in Juior High class and then the students can take foreign languages class in High school class to get what they need to learn in the future. Cause i took spanish 1 and 2 in juior high class and i love taking the foreign languages class, because my teacher made it fun.

Watertown, MA
Nina Soares
Rimas/ Watertown High School
I believe that every school should first learn english. Than you should take spanish because everyone now adays are needing spanish for work.

Watertown Ma
wilson j
No, because not everyone is interested in learning different languages, so it would be a waste of money. Kids are more interested in playing sports than learning languages that they might never use.

I believe that schools should focus on foreign languages more than they already do. In every country students are required to learn English. In most schools in American students have the choice to take a foreign language class. In most schools the only foreign language offered is Spanish, Italian and french. I believe this should change, students should have more options. They should be able to learn a new language every year.

I think focusing on more foreign languages in schools is important because there are many people in the world who don't use English as a first language and as society is becoming more diverse we need to be able to communicate with each other. Being educated in other languages only has a beneficial purpose. It opens up the opportunity for more jobs, as well as better communication skills.

Rimas/ Watertown High
It is naive to think that English should be the only language taught in schools in the United States, especially at the current rate of globalization. People living in foreign countries are now only the tap of a keyboard away. We cannot expect the everyone to communicate with us in English. The world is a diverse place and the upcoming generations need to have the opportunity to learn about another language and culture. Of course, knowledge of a foreign language is advantageous economically and militarily. But, in the end, I think the most important part of knowing another language is to understand better the people that live around us. I personally am thankful to have learned Spanish, as it has enabled me to communicate and make friends with a large group of people that I would have otherwise been unable to make contact with. I hope that American schools in the future will invest more in foreign language programs, as they are invaluable to our future as a nation.

It is definitely important for Americans to be fluent in languages other than English. Some Americans may see English as the only important language for them to know, but in order to better improve our relationships with other countries, the citizens should see the importance and worth in speaking other languages. Becoming a more worldly person should be important to all Americans. Learning a language is easier when a person is younger, and therefore schools should implement more language classes.

Logan Riley
I think that foreign languages need to be emphasized from an even earlier age, before high school. If we wait until high school it becomes too late for making learning another language useful. From a young age foreign languages should be taught so that by the time we graduate high school we should be near fluent. This will put our countries students on par with those across the world as multiple languages are actually the norm. We will benefit in job searches, and in communication with others in general. It is clear that learning other language can only benefit our students and our country in general.

Benson Arizona
Mr. Sorensen Benson high School
i don't think they should, students should have the right to choose if they want to learn a foreign language. I think more English should be taught in America.

Sidney/ MT
Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
Well, its depending upon interest. But, the school should at least offer other languages other than English. There are people who interest in other languages and other who want to speak another languages other than English. Beside, with today society, people who could speak more than one or two languages have advantage over someone who does not...

Sidney, MT
Mr. Faulhaber
No schools should not focus on more foriegn languages because this is America and we speak english. If people want to learn other languages thats ok but they need to do it on their own time. And i also think if America is letting foreign people in america they should need to learn our language like we have to do if we go out of our country.

Yes, i think that schools should focus more on foreign languages because they could be helpful for when you need a job. They could be helpful in a job because then you could help the people who cant undestand. Its also good because then you could defend your self from a fraud.

Denver, Co
Leslie M
John F Kennedy High School
I don't believe foreign languages would be needed in high school or in life. The world we live in now a days mostly use one language wich is english. English is used every where when we speak another language and people dont understand they take it as we are being racist to them or we are talking bad things about them. In high school we shuld just stick to the basic to learn wat we would actually need in life. Whats the whole point of learning a second language if in america and other states/places the language they mostly talk is english. chinnese vietnamese mexicans etc use english for a lot of things. learning another language is to much stress well thats my opinion because the language that people mostly know is english so why learn another language. How would learning another language help us? the senate shuld of never held a hearing that declared a national crisis because of dificit of americans fluent. people shuld learn n know the languages that are important to the u.s stragetic and economic interests.

Denver/ Colorado
Mumby/ Jonh F. Kennedy High School
School should focus more on foreign languages because todays many immigration/foreign people have come to america and other country, state, city beside the U.S.A. America's population has been growing and Americans may go out of the country to work they need that second languages to connect with others who don't speak english.As for me I speak more than three but have forgotten some words, the school should help and add new languages to help me remember and help others learn new languages.

Harmon Middle School
I do not believe foreign languages are stressed enough in schools around our nation. The world we live in today is connected, and countries rely on each other. Each country has a different form of communication. This can create a boundary that can become a problem for people who do not know a country's native language. A way this can be avoided is to create a universal language that everyone uses. This would be extremely hard to get everyone to agree on one language, and also the transition would be difficult and long. An easier way to reduce the boundaries of language would be to have every person be multi-lingual. This is an area that the United States needs to work on. In school I am currently taking spanish. I would like to see our school teach Mandarin. The Chinese are dominating the United States' economy so knowing Mandarin would be especially useful. Some other languages I would enjoy learning are Latin and German.

Frankmann/Harmon Middle School
I do believe that there should be emphasis on learning a different language in American schools. I think that Spanish is a very good choice because many countries that we import goods from speak Spanish. Another language that I think would be important for kids to learn is Chinese, because the country is quickly growing and we do business with the country. I also believe that we should start learning the language earlier than sixth or seventh grade, because we will learn a lot more if we have more time to learn. for example, my cousins live in New York, and their babysitter only speaks Spanish. The two boys are ages 7 and 5, and have been learning Spanish since they were very young, about 2 or 3. both are bilingual, and I can definitely see the benefits, especially living in New York, where people speak many different languages. I think that America will be and is crippled in its lack of bilingual people because we cannot talk to other world powers without the aid of technology. This is why I take Spanish, and plan to continue the course throughout high school. I think being bilingual is a very useful skill in life and should definitely be a required course in schools, starting at a young age.

Alex Kohn
Mr. Frankmann/Harmon
I have been taking Spanish for two years, and the one thing I find really interesting, is how students in America don't have to know a language that the majority of the world speaks. In other countries, such as Costa Rica, students learn English as a second language by the time they start 1st grade. If we started learning Spanish, French, or any other language at that young of an age we would have so many more people we could talk to. This would be a great thing for the students of our country to be able to do, and I believe we should definitely do it.

Aurora, Ohio
Paul Frankmann
I disagree Emily-- In my opinion we don't need to know second languages. The reason people learn other languages in other countries and they are so bilingual is because they need to. English is almost universal, and most americans will stay in america for about 90% of their lives. People in England are near other countries so they have a need, but think how much easier it would be to have one language! It could be done in one or two generations, and the language doesn't have to be English, just slowly phase out any other languages. I think that the schools could instead spend its money on things that will get us somewhere like other classes or things that scale to our level as students; grouping by level of understanding and not on age.

Aurora, OH
Mr. Frankmann @ Harmon MS
There are over 6,000 languages according to those who study languages. Most Americans can only speak one - English. There are disadvantages to this, and there should be more of an emphasis, but in the Information Age, there are ways to work around this. There are many benefits to knowing multiple languages, and the one you choose in school should be spoken in the world and should have similar languages. Although I consider myself only bilingual (when not including Klingon), I can sometimes make out things in German because of the similarities to English, and even some things in Portuguese and French because of the similarities to Spanish. This means taking Spanish lets me be fluent in that language, but also able to sometimes read other languages. If schools have the budget, languages that are both widely spoken and similar to other languages should be taught. Knowing languages allow for me to communicate with many more people, which is useful in our connected world. Languages were created to speak to those you were in connection with, and groups of people weren't connected with other groups of people when the language was created, resulting in many languages. Now, billions of people can exchange ideas and data through the Internet and we can fly to the other side of the world in a matter of hours. We only need one language. This would be a rough and complex transition, and would likely start with bilingual and trilingual people this generation, and teaching the next generation a universal language. This would require effort, but would make communication simple and save money for schools, but would also remove the need for translation services. Finally, if we teach a universal language in schools, this would end the need for translators and language classes.

Paul Frankmann
I believe that it is important to have foreign languages taught in schools. One reason is because it can benefit your thinking. Eventually when you are either working or traveling, someone that you will need to communicate with will be speaking a different language. It can also help if you understand what people are saying and be able to respond. Especially if you travel to different countires, how will you get around? Another reason that foreign languages should be taught on schools is also because of other countries eithertaking over in an economic stand point or taking over buisnesses. You need to be able to communicate. And lastly, it would be helpful to understand how other languages differ from English. For instance, I know that in Spanish there are different conjugations and other grammar rules that you must follow. Learning how different languages work, could possibly start new languages to form in the future. Overall, it is important to be able to interact and understand other people speaking in different languages

I believe that American schools should invest more in International Languages. Today, many students study abroad and are only fluent in one or two languages. In Europe, the children learn from a young age and are already fluent in their language and most likely English. By their middle school and high school year they are able to invest in learning three or more languages. As in the United States, children learn English and no other language. I believe this is due to a lack of effort and dedication. Learning a new language is hard, that is why teachers need to invest into learning another language at a younger age so it will stick with the student. I think that the education system should increase the education in foreign-languages at an early age so by middle school, they can have English and another language already mastered. That way they can move onto a third language. Today, mastering a third language is crucial. There are many foreigners coming into America (Mostly an English speaking country) that stay in their own social bubble because no one else can speak their language..

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