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.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lost count of how many construction workers I have been around that can barely speak english. Recently our government has been trying to deport illegals. What is amazing is how many workers have been here twenty or more years and still can't speak english. Not a big deal for me, but twenty years? and still can't communicate.
Really just a matter of them spending their days around their countrymen and no one else.Little Italy, Portugal, and now Russia etc etc...

6/10/2006 9:09 PM

Anonymous Cam said...

Making English the official language will do nothing. You can't control a language that way. If someone thinks some law on the books is gonna change the way people speak then I have some ocean front property in Colorado to sell them.

People often think "I'm an American I only need English." No one seems to remember that many of the founding fathers themselves spoke 2 or more languages. Monolingualism is not the norm for most of the world.

And if you're getting a C in a foreign language then suck it up and study more. No wonder other countries always beat or behinds in education.

6/22/2006 2:33 PM

Blogger drummaster2001 said...


our founding fathers needed to speak other languages such as french because we needed them as allies and we were not a superpower.

as for other countries being smarter than us, look no further than the far east. they focus on mathematics and science, not foreign language.

people think they only need english because that's just it, we only need english.

if people want to live here and work here, 1) they should be legal citizens and 2) speak and read english.

and for the record i got b's in spanish and latin only because i didn't do homework. it was a waste of my time, especially when i was studying American government, US history, civil and criminal law, economics, and the writings of camus, sartre, and others.

6/22/2006 7:45 PM

Blogger Russet Shadows said...

I am growing a bit weary of the pedantic tone taken by the oh-so-cultured cultural superiors telling us that we all most know two or more languages or we are subhumans. If you want to know multiple languages, that's fine. But it certainly is no requirement for excellence in any field, nor is it required for the continuation of a culture. And besides all that, if you asked the computer-literate how many languages they know, you might be surprised. PERL, PHP, JAVA are all languages.

7/04/2006 9:37 PM

Blogger beakerkin said...

Drummaster Russet Shadows is a friend.

Sad news the pussies of Jihad at thavagejustice captured Beakerrambo. The situation looks grim

7/04/2006 11:35 PM

Blogger drummaster2001 said...

russet shadows:

first off, great comments. i agree with you in that people who want to learn can, but i feel that these mandatory 2 years of foreign language at a high school level is rediculous.

the college i will attend has not made a mandatory foreign language requirement yet, but i will guarantee it will be implemented soon- the evidence is in the required language placement tests i mentioned in the post.

my dad works with computers and it is indeed another language.


beakerrambo is what!? THIS MEANS WAR!!!

btw, did beamish send you a compatible termibeaker?

7/05/2006 11:56 PM

Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Arabic isn't offered? I'd complain.

7/20/2006 4:04 PM

Blogger Purple Avenger said...

Monolingualism is not the norm for most of the world.

Where can I find the data that supports this?

7/23/2006 12:06 AM


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