Why is the US so limited with language teaching? Why does the US mainly focus for the most part on just teaching German, French, and Spanish when there are languages that could become more and more important from countries with growing regional influence or ecnomic power such as Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, or Russian?
Jun 4, 2018 10:52 PM
Comments · 5
Education in the US is not about what is best for the student.  It is about what is best for the teacher's unions.
June 4, 2018

1) Because unfortunately English has become the lingua Franca;

2) The US is just so huge. 325,000,000 people and 3,000 miles from coast to coast, with everyone speaking the same language in between. That’s an unusual phenomenon in the world. 

Im not defending it, just pointing out the answer. I wish it were in fact otherwise. 

Contrast this with Iceland. 325,000 people (not even a good sized European or American city) with a language nobody else in the entire world speaks. If you’re an Icelander, you better learn a foreign language (at least one, and it’s usually English) or you ain’t going anywhere off that island because you’re not going to be able to communicate with anyone. That’s why just about everyone in Iceland speaks English as a second language (and many may know more). 

June 4, 2018

30 years ago, the high schools where I lived (in California, near San Francisco) all seemed to offer the standard language trio:  Spanish, French and German (and our high school also used to offered Russian until budget cuts happened around 1979).

Today, the high schools near San Francisco often offer a different mix of languages.  Here are what the six schools in my district offer:

School #1:  Spanish, French

School #2:  Spanish, Mandarin, French

School #3:  Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese

School #4:  Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese

School #5:  Spanish, Mandarin, Italian

School #6:  Spanish, Mandarin, American Sign Language

June 5, 2018

The United States is so large that it's really hard to generalize across the entire country. The languages offered in schools depend on the demographics of the area, the finances of the school, and the availability of teachers. Spanish is commonly taught because we border a Spanish-speaking country and have a great many immigrants who speak Spanish as a native language, so it is quite useful. French is spoken in parts of Canada, and used to be considered the international language of business. English has been influenced a great deal by the Romance languages, so the vocabulary is easier for English speakers to learn. English is also a Germanic language and German is popular in parts of the country where many people have German ancestry. That said, Chinese has become a popular choice as a foreign language in recent years and many more schools now offer it. 

I took French in middle and high school, primarily because it was the only foreign language offered in my tiny middle school. The high school offered French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Latin, but since I'd already had two years of French, I opted to continue it. In college I chose to take a few semesters of Spanish because it was more useful. My children's middle school is much larger than mine was and offers Spanish, French, and German. At the high school they also have the option of taking Latin or Chinese.

June 5, 2018

I think spanish is very important as it is the first language in many countries and i think chinese will be necessary if you want to have a busniess there but i don't think that russian or hindi have the same importance as spanish , arabic and chinese

June 5, 2018