Guest Opinion – Press Citizen
Nein Equals Zero
The recent proposed cuts to 7th grade foreign languages and to German completely by the ICCSD Administration go contrary to our community’s will and to what all candidates in the last Board election commented on regarding foreign language curriculum. At the September 3, 2013 ICEA/Press-Citizen forum held at the Coralville Library, moderators Ben Moser, Andy Gahan and Jeff Charis-Carlson posed questions to all nine (9) Board candidates. By happenstance, the sixth question in the debate pertained to Arabic speaking students in our community and the candidate’s view of foreign languages in our schools.
The answers by candidates (in order) were:
Phil Hemingway: cited his extensive overseas work and the importance of languages and YES, did support the teaching of foreign languages.
Sara Barron: Agreed that the Arabic community could assist with providing resources to make teaching Arabic possible.
Brian Kirschling: cited Spanish, French & German and the need to add more languages
Karla Cook: YES, supports foreign language instruction
Jason Lewis: Absolutely; cultural opportunities that are offered.
Tuyet Dorau: She speaks Vietnamese, English and French; adding foreign languages would help the community.
Jim Tate: Yes – will increase cultural diversity
Chris Lynch: Teaching foreign languages will help prepare kids for a global environment
Gregg Geerdes: Yes; The Board needs to ask the community for what it wants.
Asking the community what it wants – that’s a novel idea; one we all wish our Administrators and Board members would follow. As you can see, when running for a Board seat, Tuyet, Brian and Chris are all for even the addition of Arabic to our curriculum with no mention for the need to eliminate languages when we get into a tight situation.
If teaching foreign languages prepared kids for the global environment then, it still does now.
The Administration and Board members need to live up to promises made to our students and our community. The money can be found to maintain these needed courses for all our students. If we can find a million dollars for sports fields, Administrative parking and no-bid service contracts, we can find funding for a continuing comprehensive language curriculum.