Education A State Capitals Roundup

Pilot Foreign-Language Program Could Go Statewide in Georgia

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — February 06, 2007 1 min read

Georgia

Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia has proposed spreading state funding for a pilot foreign-language program to schools throughout the state, using the current funding level. The plan has drawn criticism from proponents of the state’s 12-year-old elementary school language initiative, who say it would undermine the success of the two dozen schools that have benefited from the state support.

Under the governor’s budget proposal for fiscal 2008, the $1.6 million for the Georgia Elementary Foreign Languages Model Program would be shared among any of the state’s 1,300 elementary schools interested in having language classes.

Participating schools now provide 30 minutes a day in instruction in French, German, Japanese, or Spanish. Local districts contribute up to half the cost of running the programs.

It would cost about $85 million to fully fund such programs at all elementary schools, according to Bert Brantley, the governor’s press secretary.

“We don’t have the money to do the entire program at every school in the state,” Mr. Brantley said. “But the idea is … for everybody to get a part of it so that every student can at least have some exposure to foreign-language instruction.”

A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2007 edition of Education Week