My name is Jairo Coronado and I’m going to talk to you about the issue on funding for foreign language courses.
Funding for foreign language courses is one of the most important educational issues today. Thousands of schools are augmenting that they don’t receive enough funding from the federal government to support foreign language learning. It is vital that schools are provided with the funding they need to help the students learn a foreign language. Providing them with the funds they need will give the schools the opportunity to offer the students the best teachers and learning methods to succeed in the foreign language world.
As the world shrinks and countries become increasingly interdependent, cultural and language experts predict that within the next twenty years it will be necessary for everyone to speak a second, or even a third language. This is an area where the U.S. lacks behind in other parts of the world. Western Europeans for example, are often fluent in two or more languages. Therefore, it is so important that the federal or the state’s government provides enough money to all the schools for students to become more competent in life.
In 2007, the U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced $8.7 million in grants to school districts in 20 states to help increase the number of Americans learning foreign languages critical to national security and commerce. This was part of President Bush's National Security Language Initiative. Some languages that were classified as critical are the following; Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Urdu. The grants were intended to address the shortage of critical foreign language speakers by supporting new and expanded programs in grades K-12. These funds were also expected to enable more students to become fluent in critical languages.
However, not all the states were able to receive funds and they couldn’t help foreign language students as much as the states that receive some grants did. Moreover, these funds did not help students that were studying any of the noncritical languages such as Spanish, French, and Germany. Today thousands of school districts, especially the small school districts, are reporting their need for funding for foreign language courses. Schools such as Hesperia High School in 2008 reported that they had to stop teaching French for the lack of money to continue supporting the program.
Not giving schools the funds they need for foreign language courses is going to impact K-12 education drastically. For instance, schools that teach foreign courses to little children are not going be able to do that anymore and the students are not going to have the opportunity to learn a foreign language easier and faster. Learning a new language is easier when you are little and therefore every single school that offers foreign language classes to students at an early age should have the funds to continue doing that. In addition, if the schools are provided with the funds they need for foreign language courses, there is a big possibility that they do better on other subjects too. This will make the students more competent not only in the communication field, but in many other fields such as reading, psychology, foreign culture and English.
A linguistics professor, Alison Mackey at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and co author of the book, &quot;The Bilingual Edge&quot;, states that, &quot;Being bilingual is an undeniable advantage and how the knowledge of two languages can give kids enhanced creativity as well as improve literacy skills. Numerous studies have also demonstrated that children who read at least bilingual are more likely to outperform their monolingual peers in those critical standardized exams in school. &quot; I had to learn English as my second language, so I know all the benefits that you can get by learning another language such as; learning to appreciate and inherently accept other cultures and increase your self esteem, as well as your confidence, you can also get better reading and writing skills.
Today there are many programs and institutions that help schools and foreign languages students continue with their education. All these programs are designed to strengthen the capability and performance of American education in foreign languages and in area and international studies. Overseas programs are intended to improve secondary and postsecondary teaching, learning, and research concerning other cultures and languages. One of these programs is “Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow” this big program enables partnerships to develop and implement programs that provide courses of study in STEM or critical foreign language subjects that are integrated with teacher education and would lead to a degree with a concurrent teacher certification.
Another program that supports teaching and learning a foreign language is The Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program provides allocations of academic year and summer fellowships to institutions of higher education or consortia of institutions of higher education to assist meritorious undergraduate students and graduate students undergoing training in modern foreign languages and related area or international studies. Eligible students apply for fellowships directly to an institution that has received an allocation of fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education.
Learning a foreign language not only encompasses the grammatical structures and vocabulary of another language (subsequently aiding us in our own cognitive development and linguistic skills), but it teaches us about different cultures in the world. Therefore, every single foreign language students must be provided with everything he needs to continue his education. Every school should have the funds they need to help all the foreign language to learn the language as best as they can. Not only would this give them a chance to earn a better career, but they will be able to communicate with other people around the world!
1. By: Jairo Coronado
2. <ul><li>Foreign language students need to continue with their education. </li></ul><ul><li>Help from the federal government. </li></ul>
3. <ul><li>The need for a second language. </li></ul><ul><li>The U.S. is getting behind on foreign language education. </li></ul>
4. <ul><li>Grants to school districts in 20 states (2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Only for critical language studies. </li></ul>
5. <ul><li>Many states did not receive help. </li></ul><ul><li>Schools & students were affected. </li></ul><ul><li>Hesperia high school. </li></ul>
6. <ul><li>No more opportunities to learn a foreign language easier and faster. </li></ul><ul><li>No More competent students in may fields. </li></ul>
7. <ul><li>Alison Mackey and “The Bilingual Edge” </li></ul><ul><li>Being bilingual is very beneficial. </li></ul><ul><li>Personal experience. </li></ul>
8. <ul><li>Programs designed to strengthen American education in foreign languages. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow” </li></ul>
9. <ul><li>FLAS supports teaching and learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides summer fellowships of higher education. </li></ul>
12. <ul><li>Jensen, Jenis. "National Foreign Language Policy: A State Language Coordinator's Prospective." The Modern Language Journal (Summer 2007): 7-13. </li></ul><ul><li>Schulz, Renate A. "Foreign Language Teacher Development." The Modern Language Journal (Winter 2007): 2-15. </li></ul>