Editorial: Language options are important in Farmington schoolsThere was a lot of support among Farmington School Board members Monday night for continuing to offer students at least three world language options. It’s a position we enthusiastically support. In a global society, knowledge of foreign languages and foreign cultures will be increasingly important.
There was a lot of support among Farmington School Board members Monday night for continuing to offer students at least three world language options. It’s a position we enthusiastically support. In a global society, knowledge of foreign languages and foreign cultures will be increasingly important.
There also appears to be support among parents for continuing to offer a variety of world languages. Nearly half of respondents to a recent district survey supported offering at least some language education at the elementary level, and a quarter supported starting language education before students reach kindergarten.
Support was slightly less universal among board members for the district’s German program specifically. While all of the board members in attendance Monday gave support to the German program, they also argued that the district should continue its review of the world languages curriculum as a whole. Board member Brian Treakle suggested German might not have the value it once did when it comes to giving students an advantage in the international business world.
“We want to be relevant as well,” Treakle said Monday.
That will be the question to answer as the district moves forward. Should Farmington schools continue to offer German classes if enrollment in the program stays low?
There’s been little question about the quality of the German program. But even if German teacher Cheryl Wason is right that enrollment is down mostly because she has high expectations of her students, low numbers are low numbers. Whether it’s because they’re reluctant to work hard or because they simply have little interest in the subject, should the district continue to offer a class students don’t want when there are other options that might serve them better?
Farmington schools should not continue to offer German simply because the program strives for excellence. The district should have high expectations of students regardless of the class.
It will be interesting to watch as the Farmington School District goes through the process of reviewing its language program. We’d happily support the continuation of German if that proves viable. But if it doesn’t, it would be a shame for the district to take a step backward in the program by losing a third language altogether.