U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) announced a $188,511 grant to the Fairfax County Public Schools to help more than 1,500 students learn the critical languages of Arabic and Chinese. Spellings and Davis highlighted President Bush’s National Security Language Initiative. Less than 1 percent of American high school students combined study Arabic Chinese, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, or Urdu, according to the State Department. “This grant will provide over 1,500 Fairfax County public school students with the opportunity to study Arabic and Chinese, two languages critical in the global marketplace,” Davis said. “Today’s students are competing worldwide for jobs, and knowledge of these languages can give them an additional edge over their 21st century competition.” The funding will help the county’s schools teach these languages in grades 1-6 and will help middle and high schools lacking these programs to offer virtual Chinese and Arabic courses.
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