The Restoration of African Languages in Florida Schools

The Restoration of African Languages in Florida Schools

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L. Thompson started this petition to albritton.ben@flsenate.gov and

According to a 2012 article in Education Week, "91 percent of public schools offer foreign language instruction at the high school level, with only about 58 percent of middle schools and 25 percent of elementary schools offering foreign language instruction" in the United States with the most widely taught languages being Spanish, French, Latin, and Chinese in all 50 states. According to the 2017 National K-16 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report, language instruction in Swahili or any other African languages in U.S. schools is almost nonexistent. 

Currently, there are only a handful of primary schools and about 100 colleges offering African languages in their foreign language programs across the country; pressing communities of color to seek private and at times costly alternatives to provide language instruction and cultural restoration for their communities. Due to slavery most African Americans have limited knowledge of their language heritage. Colonization further impeded on the proper development of a cultural identity. State mandated laws prohibited the practice of African and Indigenous cultures to further isolate Africans enslaved in America from any proper remembrance of their continent, countries, tribes, language or culture.   

Upon the 400 year anniversary of the oppressive injustice of bringing and enslaving  Africans in America (starting in 1619) and the continuous degradation of the African Descendants of Slaves, we are asking for the restoration of African language in our American educational systems starting here in Florida. This proposed legislation will request that African Descendants of Slaves, as well as others, are able to learn Swahili, Twi, and Yoruba.  These African languages were chosen because Swahili is the most widely spoken language on the continent of Africa. Twi is the most widely spoken language in the country of Ghana. Yoruba, being the most widely spoken language in West Africa, is an important component to understanding many ancient African practices. We also ask that our state’s language restoration program include access to language instruction that teaches the ancient languages of Hebrew and Arabic. This would be a tremendous help to families interested in furthering their understanding of ancient text and ancient world history, "Encourage(ing) tolerance of diversity for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions". FL Statute 1003.42 (g)

By incorporating the ability to learn African Languages into our Florida Educational Curriculum, this allows many schools to further adhere to the Florida Statute 1003.42 (h) that stipulates, "the history of African people before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery" should be taught in schools. Just like Spanish language instruction showcases Hispanic Heritage from a pluralistic world and cultural view, much of the history and culture that predates the enslavement of African people can be taught to African Descendants of Slaves and other students while learning the languages associated with Africa. This would allow African cultural practices to thrive and encourage other students interested in learning about Africa  to be able to access this information in our ever changing world. 

In August 2015 the independent Swedish foundation, Gapminder, tweeted: "the biggest change of our time? Africa's increase from 1 to 4 billion people!" by the year 2100 would change the world.  Projections of the impact on the population boom with "more than half of global population growth between now and 2050...expected to occur in Africa," according to the United Nations, with an additional  "2.4 billion people projected to be added to the global population between 2015 and 2050...1.3 billion will be added in Africa." This means that the way we prepare our children for international business must change how we look at language instruction in our own countries. Options to study African languages and understand more than one foreign language are a necessity for the future development of our ever-changing business markets. As populations change over time, like China's population boom in the 1990's, and South America's population boom in the the early 2000's. It's imperative that our educational landscape is reflective of the international business opportunities that will occur in the coming years, and that starts by allowing all Florida children to have instruction in African languages from kindergarten through 12th grade. PLEASE SUPPORT THE RESTORATION OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES IN ALL FLORIDA PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY SIGNING THIS PETITION! 

 

Thank You!
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
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