Education: The Language Barrier

The U.S., historically almost deaf to the need for foreign-language study, may be emerging from its soundproof suite in the Tower of Babel. A report last week by the Office of Education sharply defined the deficiencies that the nation must correct to overcome its obstinate monolingualism.

Outgrowth of a conference on foreign-language teaching in high schools last year in Washington, the report starts with a sobering statistic from Howard E. Sollenberger, dean of the School of Languages of the Foreign Service Institute. Three out of four new Foreign Service officers, he reported, do not have enough reading or speaking skill in any...

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