Editorial: Advantage Spanish

— The Fayetteville-Manlius foreign language task force’s proposed plan to start Spanish a year earlier than French, German and Latin suggests that Spanish is the foreign language district administrators would like to see prosper at F-M.

The plan was presented by F-M Superintendent Corliss Kaiser at Monday night’s board of education meeting. Kaiser called it “not the best way to go, but perhaps a feasible way to begin this journey.”

Melanie Campitello-Chevez, a Spanish teacher at F-M who is on the task force, defended the decision to offer only Spanish in seventh grade by saying that offering two languages one year earlier would leave the other two languages out in the cold.

This begs the question: how is leaving three languages out in the cold any better?

The district would like to improve upon its number of students taking Advanced Placement foreign languages, and Kaiser sees starting students a year earlier as one way to achieve this. Considering the district’s financial constraints, adding a year in all four foreign languages is not an option.

Giving students an earlier start on a foreign language would be a smart move by the district, but why Spanish was chosen out of all the others remains to be said.

Superintendent Kaiser and the foreign language task force should address the fact that this plan gives preference to Spanish as a foreign language at F-M. The task force could have very valid reasons for choosing Spanish — like the fact that it’s the most widely spoken language in the U.S. other than English — but we’ve yet to hear them.

Until these reasons are vocalized, a proper discussion about the plan between teachers, administrators, the school board and residents cannot take place.

And we believe that this is a plan worth talking about.

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