School Board Squashes Last-Minute Attempt To Eliminate Foreign Language
The amendment would have eliminated Foreign Language in Elementary Schools
By Naomi Nix
February 2, 2011
The Fairfax County School Board unanimously rejected a budget amendment Thursday night which would have eliminated foreign language in elementary schools for the next school year.
The amendment, proposed by school board member Martina Hone, would have shifted the $3.1 million dollars that currently funds Foreign Language in Elementary Schools(FLES) to the staffing reserve.
Currently 32 county elementary schools out of 139 offer FLES programs, which give half hour language instruction to students two to three times a week. The program, which includes seven languages, is separate from the school system’s partial immersion program that operates in 12 county schools.
Advocates for FLES argue that investment in foreign language skills at an early age is critical to meet the school board’s goal that all students graduate with the ability to speak two languages. School board members said that if it weren’t for budget cuts they would, in fact, support expanding FLES and a host of other programs that have been cut or stalled.
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