April 28, 2013

Languages in Utah: A State Seeks to Be Heard in a New World Economy

From http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/us/language-programs-flower-in-utahs-schools.html?_r=0

A State Seeks to Be Heard in a New World Economy
April 19, 2013

For generations, Mormon missionaries from Utah have crisscrossed the globe and returned home speaking Tagalog and Xhosa. Now, with hopes of preparing students for a competitive world economy, the state is building one of the largest and most ambitious school-language programs in the nation.

Dual-language classes have existed for years, but they are now growing fast in many states as an outcry against bilingual education fades and educators look for ways to prepare American students for a polyglot global job market. But few have embraced the idea with such unlikely zeal as Utah, a state that passed an English-only law in 2000 and routinely ranks last in the nation on education spending, according to United States Census figures.

In foreign languages, however, Utah now sees a highway to the world economy. Republicans in Salt Lake City, the state capital, have pledged millions for the program. Four years after it began, nearly half of Utah’s 41 school districts offer programs in which elementary school students spend half the day learning in English and half in a foreign language. There are 14,000 students enrolled and 20,000 signed up for next year.

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/us/language-programs-flower-in-utahs-schools.html?_r=0

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