There is story on NPR today regarding the mandatory learning of Mandarin Chinese in Macon, Georgia.
“While we do know that Mandarin is a critical language, another critical language here in the United States is Spanish,” Eric Spears says.
Bibb high schools will continue to offer Spanish and French on top of Mandarin, but for most of the elementary kids, it’s Chinese or nothing. Considering the Hispanic population doubled in Georgia over the last census period, the “Why not Spanish?” question is one Dallemand gets a lot.
“My wife is a Latina, and so I fully understand,” he says. But “it is important for communities to educate our children for their future, not our past.”
Learning foreign languages and world geography seems to be a “no-brainer” for how much we are interconnected. Research shows that children can learn several foreign languages without undo duress to either their “native” language or to any of the learned languages. So why the absolute distinction between “the world’s economic stage” and our own “borderless inclusion?”
The message here seems to be that those who speak Spanish will have little to offer compared to those who speak an Asian language. Why is it that we are so immersed in the power of money and politics over the power of inclusion and respect?
Wouldn’t it be a thrill to have a school state that with respect to global interconnected relationships, it was going to mandate that each student be conversant in three languages by the end of eighth grade? That by the time a student completed the 12th grade, that student would be in some way, connected to twenty different individuals in at least six different countries. Not a difficult task with the Internet. Not a difficult task when so many others speak and understand English. Why are we not pursuing these global opportunities for growing relationships? For growing opportunities? For reaching out further and investing ourselves in the human relationship of business and health and education and scientific discovery?
How many foreign languages do know words in? How many people of a foreign country have you actually shared relationship with? How does that impact upon your world viewpoint?
Be gentle with our world, it is through human relationship that we will save it and ourselves.