Open Letter

To:  Dean Anderson, Chair of the Pathways Steering Committee
From: CUNY Council on World Language Study (Alicia Ramos, President)

While CUNY Council on World Language Study (CCWLS) was pleased to see languages (plural) listed as a disciplinary area in the Pathways Essential Learning Goals of September 12th, we are dismayed and deeply concerned about the absence of foreign languages from the Common Core and their minimal presence in the Flexible Core as per the Summary of the retreat of October 14th.  Given that:

•       it is knowledge of the language that gives access to the culture of a geographical area
•       study of a second language affords critical reflection between language and culture
•       study of a second language improves first-language competency
•       the United States is at a disadvantage in foreign language competence relative to other competitive countries
•       knowledge of languages other than English is relevant to all four areas in the Flexible Core
•       a number of disciplines are listed in more than one area of the Flexible Core
CCWLS urges that foreign language be included as an option in all four categories of the Flexible Core.  In addition, to foster deeper linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding, we strongly recommend that an exception be made so that two courses in a foreign language may be taken among the five required courses in the Flexible Core.  In the increasingly interconnected world we inhabit, knowledge of another language is crucial to the professional success of CUNY graduates. We do our students a disservice if we deprive them of this knowledge and thus allow them to fall behind their peers, nationally and abroad.

Respectfully submitted.
CUNY Council on World Language Study

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