By Skip Chatterson - May 29, 2012
I am a big fan of teaching languages to children early and giving them choices between useful world languages. I do mean useful languages, point in fact, my aunt took Latin in high school. Latin is a dead language and at the time my aunt took it, Latin wasn’t even used in Catholic masses any longer and she is not an attorney. My aunt basically wasted her time. I took four years of German. I have used it on several occasions, but it’s not a language that is used abundantly within the States, except to make very long compound words (Farfegnugen) or ordering an exotic beer.
My children have had short courses of Spanish and German in middle school. I think that is important because both languages are useful, Spanish more so than German, unless we are going to talk about legal immigration.
In one New York school district, it is mandatory that all 200 second- through fifth-graders at PS 368 in Hamilton Heights will be taught Arabic twice a week, the same amount of time allotted to science and music courses. It is very likely other New York schools will follow suit.
I don’t care if a school offers Arabic as a language choice, but to make it mandatory?
According to Principal Nicky Kram Rosen selected Arabic is because he claims it will help the school obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) standing. The IB program is the brain child of the UN, need I say anymore.
According to Angela Jackson, CEO of the Global Language Project, “Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language,” citing students’ future “career trajectories.”
I can understand the UN and Angela Jackson making Spanish, German and Chinese a critical-need language. Germany is basically running the EU and China basically owns America, so we might as well know the language of our current owners and if you want to converse with any of our many illegal aliens you had better learn Spanish. I can even understand learning Hindi, the official language in India. At least that way we wouldn’t have to pretend the tech support people we are talking to are actually named “Bob” when in reality their name is Aadeshwar and can barely speak English. But Arabic?
Unless we are currently looking for career opportunities as suicide bombers or opium salespersons, I don’t see the career trajectories (outside of the CIA) offered with the knowledge of the Arabic language. The one opportunity New York children will get to use the language is when they visit the Mosque put in at Ground Zero. The children will have the ability to read the epitaphs of Atta and bin Laden while touring the insulting and humiliating monster mosque in the shadow of the World Trade Center buildings that were brought down by an Islamic jihad attack.