Reasons: There are many reasons for studying a language for two or more years:
1. To better understand peoples, their culture, values and traditions. Only 7% of the world's people speak English as their native language but 90% of all Americans cannot understand any language other than English.
2. To help master English. Studies show that learning a foreign language improves reading scores in English as well as mental flexibility, creativity and high level thinking.
3. To give greater job flexibility. Government agencies and private businesses are in need of qualified speakers of other languages. A Princeton University study shows that competency in a foreign language is one of the five top skills needed in today's job market.
4. University admission and graduation. Most colleges and universities desire foreign language study for admission and require study of a foreign language for graduation. Continued foreign language study is seen as the best, most consistent, predictor of college success. The University of Michigan and MSU both require 2 years of a foreign language for admission, with 4 years strongly recommended.
5. High College board scores. Foreign language study has a significant effect on verbal ability in the native language. High school foreign language students perform significantly better on the SAT verbal and the scores increase with each half year of foreign language study. Students of lower socioeconomic background who studied a foreign language performed on par with more affluent peers.
We strongly encourage all students to study a foreign language. The Ann Arbor Public Schools has no foreign language requirements, but it is clear that students can improve their cultural horizons and improve their thinking skills as well as their standardized test scores by the study of a foreign language