A concerned Louisiana resident shares his concerns about the state of Lousiana school’s foreign language instruction in The News Star.com, September 26, 2010. Thank you, Mr. Fandal, for pointing out the dangers of cutting foreign language classes in schools!
Everyone is aware of the current budgetary crisis in Louisiana and its consequences for education in the state. What may have gone unnoticed is the damage that is being done to foreign language education in Louisiana. From the elementary to the university level, cuts have eliminated or reduced language programs. Parents, students and graduates recently had to rally in support of the highly successful immersion programs slated to be eliminated in Calcasieu Parish. Universities like LSU and Southeastern are dropping relatively inexpensive language programs in the name of budget cuts.
Language skills are a necessity for the future success of this global generation. The Louisiana Foreign Language Teachers Association asks Louisiana citizens to consider how these widespread trends are closing doors of opportunity for our children. Louisiana students will become the tourists in future economies, dependent upon those who have better global skills to meet commercial and security needs. The future does not belong to translating machines or to outsourced services. The U.S. must be able to depend on its own people. It is shortsighted to limit students and to discourage the development of language skills by reducing the availability of well-articulated programs.
All of Louisiana faces dire consequences from the cuts to education, but the magnitude of the cuts to foreign language programs will cripple progress for a long time to come. Like the parents, students, and citizens of Calcasieu Parish, the citizens of Louisiana need to rally to support our important investments in language education.