Petition to Have Compulsory Foreign Language Classes in Schools

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In Hawaii, tourism plays a vital role in our economy as it generates billions of US dollars in revenue annually. Because of the high visitor count of Japanese tourists coming to Oahu, businesses in tourist hot-spots have become Japanese friendly by implementing the language into their services. Also, with the annual increase in Korean and Chinese tourists, knowing those languages can be beneficial as well. Businesses are also more likely to hire a person who knows multiple languages as they are beneficial in improving the quality of customer service as a language barrier won't be as much of a challenge. Learning a second language not only benefits businesses, but it's greatly beneficial to the individual as well. Studies show that learning a second language can help in improving ones problem-solving, decision-making, and multitasking skills. The best age to teach children a new language is as early as possible as this is a critical development period that can lead to yield better results. Therefore, schools should have compulsory foreign language classes implemented into the curriculum for students as young as kindergartners all throughout their school career until the day the student graduates high school.

This doesn’t just apply to just to tourism, but it can apply to languages commonly found in Hawaii. In fact, the Department of Education already requires at least two years of a foreign language class to meet high school graduation requirements and many colleges require that their upcoming students have credits for a foreign language class. They do this because they too see the benefits of learning a second language.

Students across the globe are all taught English in school, so why doesn't Hawaii have our students be taught a foreign language in early childhood to meet these tourists halfway. I believe that in supporting this, you will help to make a difference in the lives of the children of Hawaii by allowing them to be given the opportunity to learn a second language at an early age and thus opening more opportunities for their future.