Bush announces a new iniative to promote foreign language learning, particularly in Arabic, Hindi, and other languages critical to our national security. It's about time! This problem has been discussed periodically, but nothing much ever happens. Unfortunately, I'll be surprised if any real change takes place now, either. The obstacles to the U.S. becoming more language proficient are daunting. Even if money is available (surely not enough), just where are we going to find all of the Arabic teachers necessary who are willing (and certified) to go teach in elementary school? Most Americans have enough trouble learning the easy languages of French and Spanish, and have little idea just how time, motivation, and effort are required to learn Chinese or Arabic. To attaine fluency instruction really must be started at a very young age, and our current K-12 system is resistant to the massive changes needed to implement such programs.
However, any progress we make is better than none, so let's get the momentum going! This is a big subject dear to my heart, and I feel as though I've hardly given it any time, but my little one is howling at my knee.