Cutting U.S. foreign language education will cost us for generations

In justifying their decisions to reduce or eliminate foreign language instruction, university administrators and trustees can cite the effects of the 2008 recession on tightening educational budgets.
February 4, 2019 | CNN

Monolingualism (the ability to speak only one language) may sound to some like a disease, and it’s certainly a condition that’s spreading throughout American higher education. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a forthcoming report by the Modern Language Association — based on information from over 2,000 institutions — found that 651 foreign language offerings had been terminated between 2013 and 2016. That’s a 5.2% drop in just three years. While we won’t have all the details until the report is released in about a month, the trend is unfortunately clear. It’s imperative that we reverse it — for the good of America’s long-term economic and national security interests and the health of democratic civil society.

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