This shortcoming has both local and far-reaching effects ranging from immigrants who try to make themselves understood to the business person who must negotiate with foreign governments (Firoz, Maghrabi & Lee 2002). Leon Panetta, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, stated, “To stay competitive in the global society, the U.S. needs more people with foreign language proficiency” (Picard, 2010, para. 3).
Although the population of the United States has expanded through several generations of immigrants, command of foreign languages is not as prevalent in the United States as it is in other countries in the world. For Example, in the European Union, more than 50% of the population is functionally communicative in their native language plus one more (Hulstrand, 2008). Data from the 2007 American Community Survey captured information on language use by members of the US population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Less than half (42.7%) of 5- to 17-year-olds had English-only speaking ability. More (72.4%) 18- to 40-year-olds were English-only proficient, and even more (78.3%) of individuals ages 41 to 64 years were English-only proficient. Of those 65 years old or older, 32.6% spoke only English (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).
There is a need to increase the numbers of students who are proficient in a second language in addition to English. ...Show more