Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Long Overdue Rant: Foreign Language and Education

There have been changes in education that have been taking place in recent years. One change in particular is classes involving foreign language.

Where I live in NJ, in elementary school [1-6], although not implemented when I attended, my sisters had Spanish "class" twice a week or so starting in second or third grade. In middle school [7,8], us students were forced into taking either Spanish or French. In high school, the district enacted a new policy which states that one of the graduation requirements is to take two years of foreign language [this being done the year after I entered H.S.].

In case any reader doesn't already know this, I will let you in on what we the students think of these classes. NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE takes these classes seriously. People finish assignments a period or so before the assignment is due, not because of the workload for other classes, but because we just don't care. People also cut these classes. In addition, foreign language classes hurt GPA levels, instead of getting an A in an elective, people will get C's. This also hurts in the long run when applying to colleges. Something so trivial as Spanish can make or break your future.

Now in college, stands the real problem that I have. They are trying to implement foreign language as a MANDATORY class in some majors [not language majors] such as business. This is a crock of shit. I took my placement test a few weeks ago, and it involved two parts: a.) the english and math and b.) the foreign language. This one took about an hour and out of 80 questions, I was able to guess, with 90% accuracy, on 10. It was a good nap, but a waste of an hour. People should not be forced to take these classes at all, especially in college, where hard earned money is supposed to be spent on a real education. If they think that people will accept this, they are in for a rude awakening.

Our country is becoming to accepting when it comes to immigrants and language. My ancestors, as well as most people's ancestors, came into this country knowing nothing of the American culture. But they had to learn English in order to make it here. Nowadays, our country will make everything bilingual- just dial a credit card company to find your balance and you will hear "para espanol prima dos" or you will see a place advertise that they accomodate language needs.

There is also something else that is upsetting about district budgets. The first thing that schools look to cut is always art and music. They don't look at foreign language departments. Without music and art in schools, kids become uncultured.

To conclude, if people want to live and succeed in our country, they should learn English, not the other way around. Foreign language should be the first programs cut from schools, not art and music. It is wrong to force people to pay for foreign language courses in college, which many people have difficuties paying for school anyway [like myself]. I would like to point out that our country is starting to move in the right direction. I saw in the news a little while ago that Congress is drafting a bill that would make English the official language of the US. I don't know how much headway this is making, but all I have to say is it's about fucking time.