Yesterday, the bi-partisan, national effort led by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Commission on Language Learning released its report “America’s Languages: Investing in Language Learning for the 21st Century”.
It recommends a national strategy to “improve access to as many languages as possible for people of every region, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background—that is, to value language education as a persistent national need similar to education in math or English, and to ensure that a useful level of proficiency is within every student’s reach.”
These recommendations are based on hard facts such as:
- The ability to understand, speak, read, and write in world languages, in addition to English, is critical to success in business, research, and international relations in the twenty-first century.
- Studying a second language is linked to improved learning outcomes in other subjects, enhanced cognitive ability, and the development of empathy & interpretive skills.
- We need more people to speak languages other than English in order to provide social and legal services for a changing population right here in the US.
The report highlights disparities in private and public schools across the country which point to language still being a privilege.
The report specifically highlights the benefits and cost-effectiveness of dual language programs in increasing student proficiency.