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Save Language Immersion Programs in Fairfax County Schools!

This petition had 2,464 supporters

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is facing a potential budget shortfall of $50-75 million for school year 2016-2017 due to projected costs for items such as enrollment growth, state mandated retirement, health insurance costs, and employee salary increases. FCPS convened a budget task force to make recommendations on potential cost reductions, and it recommended the total elimination of language immersion programs in FCPS, which would allegedly save $1.9 million per year.

Currently, FCPS students are able to learn Spanish, French, German, and Japanese through partial immersion programs at 8 elementary schools beginning in first grade. In addition, FCPS students learn Spanish and Korean through two-way immersion programs at 9 elementary schools beginning in kindergarten. FCPS provides a middle school immersion transition program at feeder middle schools for students who successfully complete the elementary language immersion programs.

These programs help to attract multinational corporations to invest in Fairfax County and make FCPS graduates competitive in the global economy. 

Speaking two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world, but in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, according to the New York Times, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age. 

We are united in supporting FCPS language immersion programs and oppose their elimination! We urge FCPS to adopt other cost reductions that would preserve these programs. In addition, we urge FCPS to expand its language immersion programs to include more schools and more languages. There is incredible demand for these programs, but participation is limited by lottery and lack of transportation options. Providing more kids with the opportunity to learn a foreign language at a young age will strengthen our local economy and ensure these students have a bright future! 

Please share this petition and help to save language immersion programs in Fairfax County schools!

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