The foreign languages offered in some schools are changing, as the community population shifts and schools meet the needs of 21st century trade and studies. In Central New Jersey, European languages traditionally offered such as German, have seen a decline in enrollment, while classes in Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi are more in demand.
The Watchung Hills School District has decided to limit advanced German courses to an online program, as enrollment has decreased. This decision has prompted protests from some parents who want the decision reversed and propose combining the upper level classes.
“Fundamentally, we believe that living languages need to be practiced and spoken in a living environment,” four parents wrote to the school board in June.
Until recently, the most popular language taught in New Jersey schools was Spanish. But recently students have opted for other languages used in international business.
“Throughout history, the popularity of studying different languages waxed and waned,” Nathan Lutz, vice president and media coordinator for Foreign Languages Educators of New Jersey, said. “In New Jersey, we have seen a rise in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, and Urdu programs.”