Admittedly, studying a foreign language will be beneficial for young people as well as the entire educational system and the US society. Young Americans will be able to compete successfully in the US and world labor market.
Importantly, four-year program of learning a foreign language in school will have a great positive impact on development of diversity and inclusion as young people will better understand other languages and cultures, which is essential for the highly diverse US society (see fig. 1). However, it is necessary to add that the program is associated with certain economic and structural disadvantages that have to be addressed to make the program successful.
In the first place, the program will require additional funds and this can be a significant burden for some areas. Implementation of the policy entails the change of the curriculum, additional training of the faculty and hiring teachers of foreign languages. Clearly, not all teachers are bilingual and only a few schools have teachers of certain languages.
More so, the rate of diversity among teachers is very low as more than 80% of educators are representatives of the majority (see fig. 2). Hence, schools will have to employ more teachers to meet the needs of students. The policy in question also has to be based on a comprehensive approach, as it involves bilingual and multicultural environment. Educators have to be ready to effectively work in such settings and, hence, they need extensive training.
This all leads to the need of additional funds. The US economy is now witnessing certain growth but state budgets may be still unprepared for the additional expenditure. Admittedly, it is essential to develop a detailed plan of funds allocation and it is also important to launch a wide campaign in support of the policy to make people aware of its benefits.
Another disadvantage of the policy may be structural, as any policy needs time to reveal its implications and benefits. Thus, at least, a decade will be necessary to understand benefits and possible downsides of the policy in question. The teachers should gain certain skills and experience, students have to pass the four-year program and they should graduate from college and start their working careers.
The rate of successful employees will be the most relevant data to measure effectiveness of the policy. A decade can be a minimum sufficient period to trace the changes occurring in the society. However, potential benefits of the program make it worth trying as the USA needs particular policies aimed at development of diverse and democratic society.
In conclusion, it is possible to note, that the four-year learning of a foreign language in the US high school can be an effective reform that will make young Americans more competitive in domestic and global labor force market. The policy will also have numerous positive effects on development of the US society as learning a foreign language involves learning more about another culture.
This, in its turn, leads to development of tolerance and open-mindedness. Clearly, the policy may have certain disadvantages, as it requires significant amount of time and additional funds. Nonetheless, potential benefits of the policy make it clear that it should be implemented nationwide.
Maxwell, L. A. (2014). U.S. School Enrollment Hits Majority-Minority Milestone. Education Week. Web.
The United States of education: The changing demographics of the United States and their schools. (2014). Web.