More options needed for world languages

Spanish and French are nice, but we need more choices

More options needed for world languages

Jackie Cummings, Reporter

America needs to be more like Europe. 

Everywhere in Europe, students are given the opportunity to learn multiple languages, starting at a young age. In De Pere High School, however, we aren’t given enough language options even though it’s highly encouraged as people get older.

We currently only have Spanish and French, and it’s been that way for a long time, even though it’s been a discussion topic to change within the last decade. 

“Learning a language is something everyone should do in their lifetime, no question,” according to Mr. Mohar, one of the French teachers. “I think it’s a travesty [that we don’t have more options because] in almost all the countries, and I mean like all over the world, you have to learn your own language, English, and a third language.”

At the very least, De Pere needs to catch up with the schools around us, world language wise. Here are the offerings at other area schools: 

** West De Pere: French and Spanish

** Pulaski: French and Spanish

** Green Bay district: Sign Language, French, Chinese, and Spanish

** Bay Port: French, Spanish, German, German IB

** Notre Dame: French, Spanish, German, Russian, and Mandarin

** Ashwaubenon: German and Spanish

Mohar added that he would also like to see De Pere add more languages. 

“Each language brings different cultural attributes, and different communication attributes that I think are very important,” he said. “Part of our mission here in De Pere is raising global citizens, so I think the more that we can make people available, the better we become.”

Mrs. Dekker, a Spanish teacher, said we need to strive to be more bilingual.

“If we’re going to live in a global society, we might as well make ourselves available to live, work, and travel internationally,” she said. “I think it’s ignorant of us to expect everybody to [just] speak English. I think that’s a bad mindset. I think we can do our part to enter someone else’s country and not expect them to speak English to us.”

If we were to add another language what would it be? The Crimson Aviator sent out a survey to the students of De Pere asking that question. 

Out of 218 students, 90 voted on adding German. Surprisingly, American Sign Language, or ASL, ran for second place with 24 people. However, adding up all the Asian based languages is 84 people.

Mrs. Dekker said she wants more language options to be introduced as young as Foxview (5-6 grade). 

“I think we should start it there,” she said. “I think in a school district of this size not starting languages until 7th grade is a disservice.”

Mrs. Dekker explains that the world language department has brought this up to the district, but due to the lack of money, proposals have been declined.

“We have tried,” she said. “But it has been unsuccessful so far. We’re really proud of our curriculum as it exists. … I don’t know if that would take away our Spanish and French numbers, but I think the more we can offer to students the better.” 

Mohar said that adding more languages might cost world language teachers part of their current jobs.

“We tried ways a couple years ago, but we didn’t add any languages because of money,” Mohar said. “Someone would have to not have a job here, and I get it everyone wants to keep working and you need to. So, that is one of the reasons we didn’t [follow through].” 

De Pere is growing and the high school needs to grow with it. Therefore, the district needs to add more language options to the curriculum. 

The mission is to “raise global citizens,” right?