When considering the Park Rapids School District's proposed cut of the high school German program, it's important to think with an open mind.
First of all, there is a demand for German in the district. One hundred students have registered for these classes for the coming school year. That is one fifth of the student body! If students would not have heard that German could possibly be cut, this figure might have been even higher.
Secondly, there is no increased demand for Spanish. The registration numbers for this language are stable. The administration, however, is proposing an increase in the number of sections that Spanish is taught, forcing all the students who signed up for German 1 into Spanish 1. This would mean an increase in staff and also an increased cost for additional materials to accommodate the two additional sections.
The students who are already learning German and who have requested to continue this would be dealt with in the following way: students registered for German 2, all 38 of them, would be put into one section, possibly taught by a substitute with limited German language ability. No one would learn anything in this situation. It would be a waste of money. Another option mentioned by the administration is for these students to take German online. The cost for this is yet to be determined, but to anyone who speaks a foreign language, whatever it would cost would also be a waste. The only way to learn to speak a foreign language is by speaking it, in other words, through personal interaction. Students registered for German 3 and 4 would either be ignored or have the online option.
Finally, it is possible to offer German 1 through 4 next year, accommodating all 100 students registered for German, with no additional cuts of staff from the district, at a cost less than what the administration's proposal requires.
Will they consider this option? Come to the board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, April 27 to express your concerns.
Linda Uscola, Menahga