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Sayonara to Foreign Language Education


In a very small town in Texas where I grew up, I remember asking my high school to lend me one of its old French textbooks - they had stopped offering French classes as an option many years ago, but I wanted to spice up my own foreign language education as a hobby.  Spanish, while somewhat practical given the geographic circumstances, was not enough to satisfy me.


So I was a bit further disappointed (but not entirely surprised) when I read this article in the New York Times which reports that there has been a huge drop in support for foreign language education all across America.

What's interesting is that in spite of the general lack of second language support, Chinese has become more and more popular, and is spreading exponentially throughout high school language classrooms.  Since the Chinese government offers to send teachers to American schools (and finance them as well), it's easy to see why many educators are saying "Hao!" (or "Yes" .. did I say that right?).


I'd like to think that this points toward growing enthusiasm in America for learning foreign languages and a greater desire for cultural exchange and understanding, but I get the feeling a great deal of the credit should go to the Chinese government.  It makes me wonder about the possibility of spreading a few of the more "endangered" languages that are in danger of eventually dying out.  Speakers of those languages who want to preserve their cultural heritage should probably take notes.

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