Add French 1 to the Quakertown Community High School Curriculum

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This petition is to add French 1 to the Quakertown Community High School curriculum for the 2019-2020 academic year, and, starting small, build a French program in Quakertown Community School District over the next few years.

French is the 2nd most learned language in the world. In fact, every public high school in Bucks County and Montgomery County in Pennsylvania offers French as a world language option for students except three (3) high schools: Quakertown Community High School in Quakertown, PA, Pottsgrove High School in Pottstown, PA, and Harry S. Truman High School (Bristol Township School District) in Levittown, PA.

Despite strong student enrollment in French programs at the vast majority of local school districts (including Bensalem, Centennial, Central Bucks, Council Rock, Neshaminy, New-Hope Solebury, Palisades, Pennridge, Abington, Cheltenham, Colonial, Hatboro-Horsham, Lower Merion, Lower Moreland, Methacton, Norristown, North Penn, Perkiomen Valley, Springfield, Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland, Souderton, Spring-Ford, Upper Merion, Upper Perkiomen, and Wissahickon) unfortunately Quakertown Community School District, along with Bristol Township School District and Pottsgrove School District, do not offer French. A school district with the academic caliber of QCSD should be on par with the rest of Bucks and Montgomery counties.

As far as QCSD's $100,000,000+ budget, hiring a full-time French teacher would cost 1/10 of 1 percent of the budget. That’s assuming the French teacher was full time and cost $100,000. We only need a .5 French teacher or less to get a French program started next year. That is 1/20 of 1% of the QCSD budget, or less.

Adding a French program could be such a positive for QCSD. We could garner community involvement. We could have fundraisers. We could do something to offset the cost. Please allow us as QCSD students and families this opportunity.

For years the QCSD administration repeatedly insisted that the reason that French is not offered is because there is no interest in French in Quakertown Community School District. Dr. William Harner, Superintendent of Quakertown Community School District, graciously agreed to a World Language survey to determine student interest back in 2017. On November 17, 2017, 678 QCSD 6th and 7th graders took the world language survey. According to the survey results provided by Dr. Harner, 14% of the QCSD students taking the survey chose French as their first choice for a world language. That is approximately 95 students. As a result of that survey, QCSD offered French in a letter mailed to academically eligible students on February 23, 2018. In response to that letter, 58 students that are current QCSD 7th and 8th graders selected French 1 as their language of choice during the course selection process for the 2018-2019 school year. 28 students selected German 1, 11 students selected German 2, 38 students selected Mandarin 1 and 7 students selected Mandarin 2. The Spanish numbers were not provided to us. Shortly after, all of the course selections were added onto students' schedules in Power School. Then on May 31, 2018, the parents of the 58 students that chose French were notified via email that French was abruptly canceled. QCSD never contacted us as the students that selected French, to this date, other than to ask us on June 1, 2018 in the cafeteria while we were eating lunch with our peers, to select our second choice for a World Language.

We have been to three School Board meetings since this happened. We still do not know nor understand how or why this happened. We were told in June 2018 that there was never a viable plan. Why and how would French get as far as being added onto 58 students' schedules? What was the plan that allowed French to be added as an option in the first place? As the world language survey and the subsequent French 1 course enrollment for 58 students across only two grades show, the interest in learning French is alive and well in Quakertown, just like every other school district in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

Please sign this petition before the upcoming January 10th School Board meeting to ask Superintendent William Harner and the QCSD School Board to prioritize a robust language curriculum for students at Quakertown Community High School by adding French I to the curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year.

This issue is bigger than Quakertown Community High School. It's about reversing an increasing trend to close budget gaps by limiting world language options in public schools. Please show your support for world languages by signing this petition. 

WHY FRENCH?:

At least one-third of our English language is derived directly from French, with many linguistic scholars proving it is closer to fifty percent. With so much of our English language derived from French, studying French boosts English vocabulary development, resulting in higher standardized test scores. Also, offering French would allow QCSD the opportunity to keep up with other local school districts. QCHS could fully compete in local language competitions, such as the annual Bucks County World Language Tournament. QCHS hosted the 2017 Bucks County World Language Tournament on March 1, 2017. QCSD let all of the other local school districts compete for, and win, the French categories, because QCSD could not provide French students to compete, unlike the other districts. QCSD has the caliber of students that excel across academics, athletics and the arts. We should have our equally talented QCSD students competing for those French awards and college scholarships, as well as taking AP French just like our surrounding, progressive school districts. Why does QCSD let other school districts earn those French awards and college scholarships? 
 
Graduate students prepping for the Verbal Ability Section of the MBA are often instructed to study specific French words to boost their score. In addition, studying French significantly helps student comprehension of medical and science textbooks, because much of our medical and science terminology is based on French words.
 
Did you know that every single word in the English language that ends in -tion, -able, -ible, -ence, -ent, -ance, -ant, -ment, -age, -al, -ude, -ure, -ive, and -ies is actually a French word with the same spelling?
 
France itself is one of the major economies of the world, and French direct investment is the fourth largest in Pennsylvania, with major corporations like Saint Gobain, Arkema, Bongrain, Sanofi-Pasteur, Airgas, Grosfillex and many others based here. France ranks 2nd for total number of international jobs in Pennsylvania with 49,091 jobs at 521 locations.
 
French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world. The U.S. Department of State gives as a guide that Spanish and French will require 600 class hours for proficiency; German takes 750 class hours: and the languages which are far different from English – specifically Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese and Korean – will take 2,200 class hours. 600 hours to become proficient in French is realistic. 

For all of these reasons, French is a practical highly beneficial world language to offer QCSD students in our current global economy. French is the next most important addition to the QCSD curriculum. 

We ask that you consider the school board’s decision making priorities in your comments in order to demonstrate how school world language programs contribute to academic success and strong communities. 

How has world language study contributed to your success (or your children's success) in core competencies such as reading, writing, and speaking?

How has your study of French contributed to your education (or that of your children) as a global citizen? Have you ever hosted an international exchange student or visited a Francophone country as a result of your kids studying French? Has studying French opened doors to other educational or career-related opportunities? 

Why do opportunities to learn a second or third language matter to you and your family?