Knowing a foreign language is becoming more important in our ever increasingly globalized world today. So why is it that the majority of schools in the United States only start teaching foreign languages in high school when it is proven that learning at a young age assists people in retaining foreign languages?
According to Time Magazine, the Pentagon has been very frustrated at how few military personnel speak any other language besides English. This is why there was a push to train soldiers the local languages of Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Morgan Smiley, an active-duty Army officer, “Improving our language skills may lead to more effective and efficient techniques for building the capacity of our current and future partners,” and this goes not only for military relations but also business and law enforcement relations as well.
Also, I can personally attest to the importance of knowing a foreign language. My degree in Intelligence Studies requires a language track where you take four language courses.
In addition, while interning for a federal law enforcement agency over the summer, I was reminded yet again of the importance of knowing a foreign language. My coworkers stressed that if I wanted to obtain a position with the agency, knowing another language was crucial.
Overall, I am left to question the decisions the United States is making regarding education in foreign languages at the elementary and high school level. It seems that the arrogant stereotype that everyone, including people from other nations, speaks English continues to live on, which only serves as an impediment to our education system and to the future employment of American citizens.