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Foreign Language for Elementary and Middle Schools

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It is advantageous to teach foreign languages to younger children because their brains retain and absorb information more efficiently than older children. In essence, their brains are like sponges for information and languages. At this age, children are also more tolerant of other cultures. Learning language skills at an early age causes the children to become more open to and aware of foreign cultures, with a greater receptivity to community values. Second language programs also help students improve in other subjects. Studies have shown that students exposed to foreign languages at an earlier age understand the structures of the English language to a greater degree, learn to think in more creative ways, and increase their sense of self-worth. Children who learn a second language also grow up to score an average of 100 points higher on the SATs, are more likely to be accepted into colleges, and are more likely to be hired than their equally qualified monolingual competitors. Even children from underprivileged backgrounds benefit academically. In 2005, all but two countries in the European Union had mandatory primary school foreign language programs. Until recently, the U.S. government, too, supported foreign language programs in public elementary schools financially. However, in 2012, the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) was cut, leaving these programs to fend for themselves. The intent of this petition is to show legislators the public's recognition of the need to reinstate FLAP. It will be sent to Senator Joe Donnelly in late March 2012. Please support foreign language programs. Don't let America fall even further behind.


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