Sunday, October 27, 2013

Re Mandatory Arabic in NY public school‏

Chana Givon

My response to the article on mandatory Arabic in the NY public school.
I find this mandate unacceptable on several levels:
1.   The needs of the CIA and FBI are immediate and there are special courses for those in intelligence gathering today.  In addition, there are already many officials who speak Arabic.  It would take years before any graduates would be proficient in the necessary language.  (I studied Spanish for 3 years and also, as a teacher of a foreign language, I can attest to the fact that it takes years for proficiency.)
2.   English is a universal language - even used in many Arab/Muslim countries. The level of English should be of greater concern in American schools; I am appalled at articles that I read which show an atrocious level of the language. 
3.  Today in US universities there are articles in English - in subjects like Anthropology, for example- that have had anti-Israel, pro-'Palestinian' messages. ( I personally know of a case at UCLA whose text in that subject had a piece on women that spoke of how Arab women in Israel are unfairly treated.  This was sheer propaganda and often students are fearful of challenging the instructor's choice of such reading material lest they not pass the course! 
There is no doubt that this could happen with young children.  Just remember who would be teaching them.  Once there is indoctrination it is often impossible to change.   Better an ounce of prevention than a pound of cure, as the saying goes.  Just look into the Palestinian Media Watch (not Palestine Media Watch which is Arabic) tapes that are taken directly from PA children's programs on television and you will see how Sesame Street type characters are used to influence their own children.
4.   Israel uses people from ME countries and, I am sure recruits those who are already Arabic speakers, are appropriate for special work, and need training; security requires more than just knowing the language. 
5.  Choice of a second language in the US should be a matter of personal choice and not mandated.  It is in direct opposition to the views of liberal groups who should take a stand against such a requirement.  One never knows what other demands would be made.
6.  Considering other incursions into the American way of life - like sharia - one might consider the mandate part of a larger agenda and citizens should beware.

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