New Report on World Language Study in U.S. K-12 Schools

From the American Councils for International Education.

As U.S. schools are enrolling increasing numbers of students who speak a language at home other than English, and major world languages like Arabic and Chinese are being introduced into K-12 curricula in many parts of the country, educators and policy makers at the local and national level require comprehensive and reliable information on the numbers of Americans who will be entering higher education and the workforce in the coming years with the language skills necessary to ensure that America maintains a competitive position in the global economy and for meeting its national security requirements.

As the demand for multilingual employees builds, a recent report, America’s Languages (2017), produced by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences at the request of a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators and Congressmen, concludes that the United States remains a monolingual society to its social, economic and national security detriment. The AAAS Commission offers a number of recommendations to help the U.S. alter its course, taking note of the particular importance of collecting and maintaining data on the state of language learning across the U.S.

“Access to data on the distribution of enrollments among languages and grade levels is as critical for the nation’s economic planning and national security as information on K-12 math and science enrollments,” notes Dan E. Davidson, President of American Councils, which implemented the new enrollment survey. “Such data yield important information about student demographics, availability of teachers, and levels of instruction by language offered around the country.”

To further these efforts, The National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report, sponsored by The Language Flagship at the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) and unveiled today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., offers an updated view of the state of language in the U.S. across the K-12 and K-16 educational continuum. A comprehensive study of world language enrollments across the formal U.S. education system, the report offers a closer look at language education in primary and secondary schools.

To read the full report and explore interactive language maps from The National K-12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report, visit the website.

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