Last week the New York Times reported on the unfortunate rate at which foreign language education programs in schools in the northeast are being cut to help balance budgets. If you've been following my blog, you probably share in my belief that speaking a foreign language is no longer an expendable luxury but an important twenty-first century skill. The article quotes Marty Abbott, the director of education for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages as saying, "In many cultures, a lot of business does not get done around the business table, it gets done in side conversations and social situations. If you can’t participate in those discussions, you get left out."
I'd add to that, that not only is speaking several languages good for business, it is equally important for early childhood brain development and social skills. It has been so exciting creating Little Pim and finding out that many parents out there share my conviction that kids should have access to language lessons as young as possible. We want kids to be introduced to languages at home or in preschool, and to then continue with language classes in elementary school.
If your school is eliminating its language programs, make sure the principal and the district know your views. I'm contacting mine today. I've also written a letter to the editor of the NY Times, and fingers crossed, it will be one of the ones chosen to be published.
Read the NY Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/education/13language.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=foreign%20languages%20fall%20as%20schools&st=cse