Our View: Don't Cut Elementary School Spanish

Editorial.

The future. That's why Monomoy Regional School District officials say they are leaning toward reducing or eliminating Spanish language instruction from Chatham and Harwich Elementary Schools in favor of more science/STEM.

Given the changes in technology over the past two decades, students graduating 10 years from now will need even more grounding in science and STEM subjects to compete. That emerged from a recent strategic planning forum, according to Superintendent of Schools Scott Carpenter. The 45 minutes now spent teaching Spanish at the elementary level would be better devoted to more time integrating science and technology into the curriculum, the argument goes. The amount of time currently devoted to the language doesn't adequately prepare students for high school-level work. Currently, school officials say, students are not spending the recommended amount of time on science. Integrating the subject further into the curriculum would expand that time.

We don't disagree with the idea that science/STEM is increasingly important. However, exposure to a foreign language is also critical in this day and age, and it's especially appropriate at the elementary level, where kids more easily learn a new language. Rather than eliminating Spanish altogether, perhaps the thing to do is to reduce time spent on the subject but keep it in the curriculum. If even that little exposure inspires a love of languages in some kids, it will be worthwhile. At the very least, it will make our somewhat isolated progeny more aware of the wider world.