Okay...here's my latest "cause"...
I received a plea from my high school French teacher recently, because, due to budget cuts, there's a possibility that they might "axe" the French program at FHS. Here's my letter to the school board...
Dear members of the Fairfield Community School Board,
I’m writing today to express my concern for information I received recently that the French program at the high school may soon be the victim of budget cuts. I hope that you can find another way to balance the budget, because I took four years of French when I was in high school back in the early 80’s, and the teacher of this class (name omitted in this blog for confidentiality) opened the world to me! Through learning about her experiences as a foreign exchange student, I was motivated to explore the world beyond my small part of it. As a result, I spent two years teaching English in Japan.
In numerous travels around the world, I continue to rely on the language skills and cultural awareness I gained from this class. My time with this teacher remains one of my most treasured memories of my high school career. I had no desire to learn Spanish. If French had not been offered, I would not have taken any foreign language classes, and would have missed out on experiences that have shaped my life.
This teacher has such a FLAIR for teaching, and made it FUN to learn a language, which, according to the Embassy of France in partnership with the American Association of Teachers of French is “understood in 55 countries across five continents and by over 200 million people”.
According to the Admissions Testing Program of the College Board, an organization representing hundreds of colleges responsible for the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), the Advanced Placement (AP) program, and various equity efforts, “as years of foreign language study increase, math and verbal SAT scores increase. Children who study a foreign language often have higher standardized test scores in math, reading, and language arts. Foreign language study can help to increase problem-solving skills, memory, and self-discipline.”
I am the coordinator of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program in South St. Paul, and can, without a doubt, state that being bilingual is a skill that will not only be a bonus to your students, but a necessity as the world becomes smaller, and 21st century skills in technology and global communication come more and more to the forefront of “minimum job requirements”.
Thank you for your time. Below are a few facts for your consideration:
· Students who have studied French earn higher scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT/GRE/LSAT).
· French is the second foreign language taught in the U.S., behind Spanish, and the only language other than English taught in all countries.
· A list of languages deemed as critical was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, and French was among them because it is spoken in countries which have a strategic importance.
· Candidates with proficiency in a language other than English earn higher salaries.
· In a listing of international jobs distributed by the U. S. State Department on August 25, 2008: 78 required or preferred French, 27 a UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), 17 Spanish, 10 Arabic, 5 Russian, 3 German, and 1 Chinese.
· Canada is an officially bilingual country (English and French). The number one trading partner of the United States is Canada. The number one trading partner of many states, including New York, is Quebec.
· Since studies have shown that students tend to continue study of the language begun in high school in college, the elimination of French study in secondary schools deprives students of exposure to a language of global status, and one that is integral for initial training in international careers.
· French is the official language of 32 countries. French is the only other language, besides English, to be spoken on 5 of the world's continents. With French, students will be understood in more than 56 countries by more than 200 million people who use French in their daily lives.
· French is an official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Bureau, the International Olympic Committee, the 31-member Council of Europe, the European Community, the Universal Postal Union, the International Red Cross, and the Union of International Associations (UIA).
· Montreal is the second largest city of native French-speakers in the world (after Paris) and is located only 1 hour from New York City by plane.
· France has the 6th largest economy in the world. U.S.News and World Report states that France has become one of the leading countries capable of exporting technology around the world.
· French companies alone have created more than 550,000 jobs for Americans while U.S. companies employ 750,000 people in France
I hope it helps, because I mean every word of what I wrote. I credit this teacher with opening my eyes to the broader world, and for giving me the skills necessary to be who I am today.
Here's hoping YOU were able to fight for a cause in which YOU believe recently!!!!
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