According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 20.7% of Americans speak, read, and comprehend a second language well enough to use it in their everyday lives. While English continues to be the common language for world trade and diplomacy, there is an emerging consensus among leaders in business and politics, teachers, scientists, and community members that proficiency in English is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world. It woud be difficult for our next generation of leaders to meet the needs of individual citizens who interact with other peoples and cultures more than at any other time in human history.
The key to learning a new language is to begin early. Starting in preschool, students receive one half year of Mandarin instruction and one half year of Spanish. Once students enter the 1st grade, they have the opportunity to select the language of their choice for the entire year.