USA children should be required to learn a second language


Kernel Opinion SIG

Dalton Stokes

To lift their education ranking among other developed countries, the US must make mastery of a second language a requirement.

According to The World Top Project, the USA is 15th in education, behind that of Russia, China, The UK, South Korea and quite a few others.

While the US does not require its students to master a second language, youth in Europe study several languages before high school. It is very probable that the US’s deficiency in education within the developed world is in some way correlated to its lack of emphasis on foreign languages.

According to the New York Times, there is a plethora of benefits to bilingualism including improvements in the “executive function,” attention span and more. A truly bilingual person also thinks in both languages and can flow seamlessly between the two and is smarter than a monolingual person.

In addition, people who speak two languages are more likely to receive higher paying jobs, be more financially successful and be paid more for the same job as people that only speak one language.

Lastly, language, on top of being how we communicate our realities with other people, shapes the way we perceive and define reality. It is how we make art, talk about art and fix problems. One of the key distinctions between us and any other animal on the planet is our capacity for language.

It is not only reasonable, but extremely apparent, that for the US to improve its education system it should require its students to become bilingual by the time they finish high school, if not earlier.