More language options?

Why schools should make learning languages a priority


Jack Venneman

Should schools emphasize language curriculum more?

Michael Dolan, Design Editor

The United States’ diversity is continuing to climb dramatically, but schools still do not make language a priority. As one of the most diverse countries in the world, language should be one of the most imperative things a student should learn in school. As diverse of a country as the United States is, foreign language should be as mandatory as math, or science class.

Most high school students will not grow up to be scientists or mathematicians, but we all need to communicate with others, maybe through our jobs, schools, or travel. America continues to diversify with no end in sight, doesn’t it make sense for our schools teach children more languages? Our education system as a whole needs to change, starting with foreign languages. Each year as national budget priorities are determined, language education continues to lose drastically. People who speak two or more foreign languages think more creatively, score better on tests, and have access to a wider range of jobs.

Even after all these reasons to learn foreign languages, American high schools still put little emphasis on foreign language. Since the majority of high schools throughout America place such little demand for language, only seven percent of college students go on to take a foreign language course. But, the problem isn’t with college students, the problem is at the source with only 20 percent of k-12 students studying a language. Timing is everything for foreign languages, scientists saying that in order to learn a language the student must begin at age 10, but with so many schools having a poor foreign language program, or not having a foreign language program at all.

An argument for the opposite stance is that a foreign language is a “waste of time” because they think maths and more traditional courses are more important. While courses like math, science, and history are very important, a lot of the information you learn in these classes you will not use in most careers, eventually forgetting how to do basic algebra. If you learn a new language you not only have a wider range of job openings but also it is much harder to forget a language you are completely fluent in to forget the Periodic table.

The fix: Follow the many other countries, foreign language systems and make the students be fluent in at least one language in order to graduate and show them the great things about learning a new language and the plentiful doors that will open through the mastery of a foreign language.

With the number of immigrants coming to America throughout the world, language needs to be an absolute requirement for high schools throughout the United States.