Foreign language is important

We were saddened to read reporter Crystal Nelson’s recent story saying enrollment in upper-level foreign language classes is dropping off.

Michigan requires students to have at least one foreign language class between junior high and high school to graduate. A second year of foreign language can be replaced, however, with either a career technical education course or a visual performing arts course.

By the time you get to third- and fourth-year foreign language courses, enrollment drops off significantly, Nelson reported.

CTE courses and performing arts both are important and reap enormous benefits to students’ development and — especially in the case of CTE classes — students’ economic futures.

But foreign language can be just as important and beneficial in our increasingly globalized economy.

And, as most foreign language courses are accompanied by study of the cultures of the places that speak that language, the classes help to broaden students’ perspectives on the world in which we live.

We know students’ and schools’ schedules are already chock-full, but we hope students give foreign languages another look.



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