We have all these students who speak Spanish at home. We should be teaching them to read and write Spanish as well, starting at the elementary level. Too often, we push them towards English and don’t take advantage of their natural facility with Spanish.
The truth is that we should be moving toward dual-language programs for all of America’s children. Spanish is the second language of the United States. It’s profoundly useful for employment nowadays. There’s also research suggesting that learning a second language can help stave off dementia in later life. Languages lay new pathways in the brain.
We ought to begin dual-language programs in kindergarten or first grade, whether the language is Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Polish, French, German, Italian or something else. Learning a language is vastly easier at six years than at sixteen years of age. It’s likely to be a lot more fun, too. The curricula for high school language classes can be very demanding, while studies indicate that the actual learning process has become more difficult due to structural changes in the brain.