Spanish is the second language in the United States. Of 305 million inhabitants, 45 million are Spanish speaking. However, learning Spanish at school or in a public institution is an odyssey. Mostly, Spanish does not reach more significance than extra activities at schools.
In some institutes things change….but not so much. In only 15 in 50 states which compose the U.S., Spanish is required for graduating.
Taking the opportunity to study Spanish in the public system is like a lottery and also depending on where you live.
In the city of New York, with some luck, the college in one area is bilingual English – Spanish and children learn it in their early ages. But this is an exception. Living a couple of streets further away, can mean that you are not taking Spanish classes until the ages of twelve. This is the usual situation.
In front of this background, there are many organizations deciding to start changing this situation. One of them is the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages that asks for foreign languages to play a more significant and even basic role in the curriculum of the schools. With its campaign “Discover Languages… Discover the World!” they want to convince Americans of the importance of knowing languages.
The crises, an enemy
The economic crisis does not make this situation easier. In New York, the city with the most public schools of the U.S. has cut the budget for schools of almost 5% per year. The Department of Education of the city makes sure that there will not be any cancellations, but vacant positions will not be offered again.
A Spanish school in New York
The difficulty of learning Spanish at school worries parents of Hispanic origin. They want their children not to unlearn their language. According to a survey, only half of the Spanish-speaking children speak Spanish at home.
Consequently, the “Colegio Español Nueva York” was founded. Here, pupils receive classes according to the Spanish educational system.
Spanish as the engine of advertisement
The Spanish government supports the advertisement of teaching Spanish beyond their frontiers and in the U.S. with high priority. Spain regards itself as an important engine to promote the Spanish language in the whole world.
The Department of Education of the Spanish embassy in the U.S. has 28 people who administrate very different programs in the whole country.