July 1, 2012

Report: US Has “Foreign Language Education Deficit”

From http://www.cfr.org/united-states/languages-jobs-initiative/p28396

A “Languages for Jobs” Initiative
Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 24

Authors: Terrence G. Wiley, President, Center for Applied Linguistics, Sarah Catherine Moore, Language Policy Research Network, Center for Applied Linguistics, and Margaret S. Fee, Language Policy Research Network, Center for Applied Linguistics

The promotion of foreign language instruction should be a national priority. In an increasingly competitive international economy, a workforce with more market-relevant foreign language skills is a strategic economic asset for the United States. Yet foreign language education is on the decline, particularly at the primary level when foreign languages are best learned. Federal policy is not stepping up. Recent federal efforts to promote foreign language instruction are not designed to have a broad-based impact and have been focused almost exclusively on achieving national security goals. U.S. economic competitiveness goals are equally important, but there are no comprehensive efforts to promote the instruction of languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, German, and Hindi, in local school districts where foreign language education must occur to improve proficiency more broadly. The federal government should launch an interagency "Languages for Jobs" initiative, with funding levels at least equal to security language programs. As part of the initiative, the Department of Education would develop foreign language education accountability metrics and primary-level immersion programming that leverages the country's existing multilingual population.

Read the full report at http://www.cfr.org/united-states/languages-jobs-initiative/p28396

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