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Should Spanish Be a Required Subject in School?

Perotista

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EDITED: This is old data that used to be contained on the Wikipedia site on Spanish language in the U.S. (link below) The site has changed, and no longer gives those percentages by state (although it does give percentages by country, as does this link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spanish_in_the_United_States_by_countr.gif ) I'll try to find another link.

The 2004 American Community Survey (from the U.S. Census Bureau) these are the percentages of Spanish speakers living in the U.S., by state:

New Mexico: 43.27%
California: 34.72%
Texas: 34.63%
Arizona: 28.03%
Nevada: 19.27%
Florida: 19.27%
New York: 15.96%
New Jersey: 13.89%
Illinois: 12.70%
Colorado: 12.35%

The remaining states have less than 10% of their populations speaking Spanish.
Spanish language in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spanish is also predicted to become the world's second most spoken language (after Chinese) by 2050.
newamericamedia.org/2011/02/us-will-be-biggest-spanish-speaking-country-by-2050-says-scholar.php

Should Spanish be a required subject in school? If so, for which states and starting in what grades?

Pam

I don't think spanish should be required. But it should be offered as an elective, it usually is anyway in most schools. Even the old country school I went to offered French and Spanish in HS. But to be effective, I think it should start at the Jr. High Level as the younger you are the easier it is to learn a foreign language.
 

CanadaJohn

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Canada does not share a border with Mexico, and none of it's provinces have populations with nearly 1/3 or even 1/2 Spanish speakers.

Pam

It would be cheaper to secure your borders and require immigrants and/or the 12 million illegals to learn and speak English than it would be to require 120 million or so students to learn and speak Spanish on the off chance they want to use it. Unless, of course, you're looking to create a whole new class of Spanish language teachers out of the illegal alien population to provide jobs for them. Keep letting illegals invade your country and pretty soon Canada will have to build a fence to keep Americans from flooding Canada to get away from the newly formed United Spanish States of Norte-Americano
 

gungadin

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Please post some statistics concerning what you just brought up:

jobs requiring English
jobs requiring Spanish-English
jobs requiring Chinese-English

Working on finding hard statistics. In the meantime, why not just read these:

Bilingual Jobs on CareerBuilder.com
work.chron.com/jobs-require-bilingual-spanish-english-9509.html
usneakydevilu.com/2011/10/31/no-spanish-no-job-discrimination-against-english-speaking-u-s-citizens

Pam
 

MaggieD

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EDITED: This is old data that used to be contained on the Wikipedia site on Spanish language in the U.S. (link below) The site has changed, and no longer gives those percentages by state (although it does give percentages by country, as does this link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spanish_in_the_United_States_by_countr.gif ) I'll try to find another link.

The 2004 American Community Survey (from the U.S. Census Bureau) these are the percentages of Spanish speakers living in the U.S., by state:

New Mexico: 43.27%
California: 34.72%
Texas: 34.63%
Arizona: 28.03%
Nevada: 19.27%
Florida: 19.27%
New York: 15.96%
New Jersey: 13.89%
Illinois: 12.70%
Colorado: 12.35%

The remaining states have less than 10% of their populations speaking Spanish.
Spanish language in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spanish is also predicted to become the world's second most spoken language (after Chinese) by 2050.
newamericamedia.org/2011/02/us-will-be-biggest-spanish-speaking-country-by-2050-says-scholar.php

Should Spanish be a required subject in school? If so, for which states and starting in what grades?

Pam

I won't go so far as to designate states, but I think it only makes sense that we learn Spanish. Why not? Learning a foreign language, starting early in life, activates some helpful neurons in the brain. It's a comparatively easy language to learn and could be a stepping stone for many people to learning other languages that could be helpful in government service.

In some states, if you're going to be in construction management, you'd better speak Spanish. The restaurant business as well.

In some states/areas, it would make perfect sense. One could immerse one's self in the language at any time. Keep up with it. Make good use of it. I think it's an excellent idea.
 

humbolt

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It would be cheaper to secure your borders and require immigrants and/or the 12 million illegals to learn and speak English than it would be to require 120 million or so students to learn and speak Spanish on the off chance they want to use it. Unless, of course, you're looking to create a whole new class of Spanish language teachers out of the illegal alien population to provide jobs for them. Keep letting illegals invade your country and pretty soon Canada will have to build a fence to keep Americans from flooding Canada to get away from the newly formed United Spanish States of Norte-Americano
You know, there's just something about speaking for fifteen seconds to say something like, "I would like a glass of water" that bothers me on a fundamental level.
 

Jerry

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Noone speaks spanish in SD so I don't see why we should.
 

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It's been proven that knowing a second language can decrease your chances of getting alzheimers or any number of mental diseases.
Knowing three languages decreases that chance even more. In other words, the more languages you speak, the healthier your mind will be.

Another reason why you should learn a second language is for the same reason you should read books. A man who only speaks one language will live a single life, a man who speaks more, will live more. It's a proverb :D; A man who reads lives multiple lives, a man who doesn't, barely lives his own. Another proverb :).

Now on the topic of should Spanish be required? I don't know. It should be pretty much optional to learn a second language, but it should be mandatory optional to learn a second language. If you learn Spanish, you can enter dialogue with half a billion people. So there are advantages to learning it. But if you don't want Spanish... fine, pick another. But learn it. In an ideal world ,ever school would have on staff multiple language teachers and enable each student to pick whatever language they wanna learn. But since we aren't in an ideal world, if a school can provide a secondary language education, take it! Especially if its one of the most useful languages in the world. And these, in order of increase difficulty to learn: Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, German, Japanesee, Chinesse and maybe Arabic (for certain jobs for which knowing arabic is quite useful, like in military intelligence or stuff like that).

English, of course, goes without saying, that's why its not on the list. It's a must know.

EDIT: But again, it shouldn't be force fed as the ONLY secondary language you should learn in america. It should be one among many that should be made available.

I was about writing "of course", then I read your postings and found you have made many of my points and even some beyond much more eloquently than I was going to.

Of course it should be required to learn one or more foreign languages in school, if the purpose of school is to give the students a good, thorough general education. It's not even important that foreign languages are learnt to perfection in high school, but it's good enough when students learn to get an idea what it means to learn a foreign language, and some basics of one or more foreign languages.

It obviously makes sense to choose Spanish as foreign language in America. As it makes in general, when you know English already.
 

Samhain

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Working on finding hard statistics. In the meantime, why not just read these:

Bilingual Jobs on CareerBuilder.com
work.chron.com/jobs-require-bilingual-spanish-english-9509.html
usneakydevilu.com/2011/10/31/no-spanish-no-job-discrimination-against-english-speaking-u-s-citizens

Pam

12,790 job postings looking for Spanish speakers out of 1.6 million job postings. Interesting to note that Chinese speakers number 2,500.
 

jimbo

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Canada does not share a border with Mexico, and none of it's provinces have populations with nearly 1/3 or even 1/2 Spanish speakers.

Pam

If we close our borders and allow only legal immigration, then send the rest packing, both by sending them home and coming down hard on those that encourage illegals, and that would be those providing jobs, services, and politicians who refuse to honor their oath to enforce our laws. We would not be having this conversation.
 

MaggieD

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If we close our borders and allow only legal immigration, then send the rest packing, both by sending them home and coming down hard on those that encourage illegals, and that would be those providing jobs, services, and politicians who refuse to honor their oath to enforce our laws. We would not be having this conversation.

And we're having this conversation because we're never going to do the things you suggest.
 

humbolt

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In some states, if you're going to be in construction management, you'd better speak Spanish.
That explains why the last federal court house I built ended up looking like a Spanish Mission.
 

jimbo

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And we're having this conversation because we're never going to do the things you suggest.

Agreed, but that does not make it right.
 

gungadin

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It would be cheaper to secure your borders and require immigrants and/or the 12 million illegals to learn and speak English than it would be to require 120 million or so students to learn and speak Spanish on the off chance they want to use it. Unless, of course, you're looking to create a whole new class of Spanish language teachers out of the illegal alien population to provide jobs for them. Keep letting illegals invade your country and pretty soon Canada will have to build a fence to keep Americans from flooding Canada to get away from the newly formed United Spanish States of Norte-Americano

Do you think illegal immigrants are the only people in the border states speaking Spanish? Or perhaps a better question: is there any reason to require English besides the fact that it is the language of the majority? (It is not, by the way, the official language of the United States). As I said, in New Mexico almost 50% of the population speaks Spanish. It is not cheap, or even feasible, to ignore 50% of the population. Why this histrionic reaction to the idea of requiring the study of Spanish? It just makes sense.

Pam
 

CanadaJohn

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Do you think illegal immigrants are the only people in the border states speaking Spanish? Or perhaps a better question: is there any reason to require English besides the fact that it is the language of the majority? (It is not, by the way, the official language of the United States). As I said, in New Mexico almost 50% of the population speaks Spanish. It is not cheap, or even feasible, to ignore 50% of the population. Why this histrionic reaction to the idea of requiring the study of Spanish? It just makes sense.

Pam

Perhaps you believe it makes sense but you certainly haven't made a case for compulsary language classes on a pedagogical or economic level - just on numbers.
 

gungadin

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If we close our borders and allow only legal immigration, then send the rest packing, both by sending them home and coming down hard on those that encourage illegals, and that would be those providing jobs, services, and politicians who refuse to honor their oath to enforce our laws. We would not be having this conversation.

Even if we closed the borders today and deported all illegal immigrants, the Spanish speaking population here would continue to grow because legally residing Spanish speakers continue to have more children than English speakers. This isn't a thread about illegal immigrants.

Pam
 

Rainman05

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I was about writing "of course", then I read your postings and found you have made many of my points and even some beyond much more eloquently than I was going to.

Of course it should be required to learn one or more foreign languages in school, if the purpose of school is to give the students a good, thorough general education. It's not even important that foreign languages are learnt to perfection in high school, but it's good enough when students learn to get an idea what it means to learn a foreign language, and some basics of one or more foreign languages.

It obviously makes sense to choose Spanish as foreign language in America. As it makes in general, when you know English already.

Depends on what you're going to be in life...

For instance, for the purpose of becoming an engineer, learning German is also highly recommended and some people put it on par with knowing English. This is why I am studying German now and maybe next year I'll try and get some official accreditation... maybe a TELC or something.

For the purpose of business dealings, it makes sense to learn arabic and Russian because with these languages, it would be very advantageous for you if you decide to have business dealings in these 2 very wide and profitable markets.
Chinesse is also a really good language to learn and you can get a pretty good job in many companies in management.

But I don't blame americans for not desiring to have a second language put mandatory in place. In Europe, you can't go 1000km in a direction without crossing a linguistic barrier. In America... you can. And since the official language of all of North America is English with a spit of French in East Canada... yeah... knowing a second language in the US is not as vital to an individual as it is in Europe.
 

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Even if we closed the borders today and deported all illegal immigrants, the Spanish speaking population here would continue to grow because legally residing Spanish speakers continue to have more children than English speakers. This isn't a thread about illegal immigrants.

Pam

Yes it is. The only valid reason for needing Spanish on our own soil is to speak to illegals. Legal immigrants are required to learn English as a condition of citizenship
 

CanadaJohn

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It makes sense to prepare students to compete in the job market.

Pam

Any job in North America where Spanish is a required language is likely only to be a ghettoized job or low wages and low value, likely in limited retain selling product to a predominantly Spanish only speaking clientelle. I'd be happy to be proven wrong if you can identify for me the types of "careers" in America, even southern American states, where Spanish speaking is mandatory for high-paying, career type employment - and please don't include immigration lawyer or criminal defense attorney.
 

gungadin

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12,790 job postings looking for Spanish speakers out of 1.6 million job postings. Interesting to note that Chinese speakers number 2,500.


So, one in 133 jobs requires Spanish-English bilingualism. That's out of the whole U.S., not just the border states, and doesn't count the number of jobs that prefer bilingualism- where it would be a competitive advantage if not absolutely a requirement. By comparison, I wonder how many jobs require working knowledge of geometry.

Pam
 

gungadin

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Yes it is. The only valid reason for needing Spanish on our own soil is to speak to illegals. Legal immigrants are required to learn English as a condition of citizenship

And yet their children born here are not- since they're already citizens by virtue of being born here.

Pam
 

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Depends on what you're going to be in life...

For instance, for the purpose of becoming an engineer, learning German is also highly recommended and some people put it on par with knowing English. This is why I am studying German now and maybe next year I'll try and get some official accreditation... maybe a TELC or something.

For the purpose of business dealings, it makes sense to learn arabic and Russian because with these languages, it would be very advantageous for you if you decide to have business dealings in these 2 very wide and profitable markets.
Chinesse is also a really good language to learn and you can get a pretty good job in many companies in management.

But I don't blame americans for not desiring to have a second language put mandatory in place. In Europe, you can't go 1000km in a direction without crossing a linguistic barrier. In America... you can. And since the official language of all of North America is English with a spit of French in East Canada... yeah... knowing a second language in the US is not as vital to an individual as it is in Europe.

All true ...

But as you said, maybe I am conservative in these regards, but I can't imagine you really have a thorough education without knowing what it means to learn a foreign language. At least the basic idea of what that means, how languages shape thinking, and how learning a foreign language opens the door to a whole new world. How can you learn about math, literature, history and sciences, but learn nothing about other languages and cultures?

Also, the younger you are, the easier it is for you to pick up a foreign language. Kids will learn foreign languages much more easily than most adults. So it's really a waste of opportunity not to learn one in school.

As for choosing a language to learn ... I agree it depends on what you're going to be. I didn't know German is so important for engineers. I had English and French in school (English was compulsory, the second language was a choice between French, Spanish, Latin and in some schools Russian), and later, I considered studying another language.

My idea was to weight benefit against difficulty ... obviously, Chinese or Arab bring a huge benefit, but the effort required is huge too. Dutch or Danish is very easy to learn for German native speakers, but the benefit is really small. But I plan on studying Spanish some day. The benefit is pretty large, and the effort not bad, when you know some French already. I studied some Polish, but it's pretty complex. And I didn't really have the time and patience to continue in the past few months. But then, I really think it's a shame when most Poles know some German, and you don't know any Polish as a German, although you are neighbors and potentially close allies in friends in the future. So I feel I should at least be able to converse in a few simple words with Poles in their language.
 

gungadin

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Any job in North America where Spanish is a required language is likely only to be a ghettoized job or low wages and low value, likely in limited retain selling product to a predominantly Spanish only speaking clientelle. I'd be happy to be proven wrong if you can identify for me the types of "careers" in America, even southern American states, where Spanish speaking is mandatory for high-paying, career type employment - and please don't include immigration lawyer or criminal defense attorney.

Once again the link is:
Bilingual Jobs on CareerBuilder.com

Pam
 
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