July 20, 2019

The Growing Importance of Studying Languages

“In January, the Modern Language Association made an astonishing announcement in The Chronicle of Higher Education: From 2013 to 2016, colleges across the United States cut 651 foreign language programs. French was the hardest hit, losing 129 programs, followed by Spanish with 118, German with 86 and Italian with 56. Once these programs close, they are very hard to reopen.

According to a Pew study from last year, only 20 percent of K-12 students in America study a foreign language (compared with an average of 92 percent in Europe), and only 10 states and the District of Columbia make foreign-language learning a high school graduation requirement.

The decline in language education could have devastating effects for generations to come. With fewer options for learning a foreign language in school, a sharp decrease in interest is likely to follow. According to the Modern Language Association, enrollment in college-level foreign-language courses dropped 9.2 percent from 2013 to 2016.”

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