More U.S. students learn Chinese, though most study Spanish

03/29/2011 | Education Week

The number of American students learning Mandarin Chinese is on the rise, while Spanish remains the most-studied language in U.S. schools, 2007-08 data from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages show. A slight increase from 2004-05 can be seen in K-12 students involved in foreign language learning, but that number still amounts to fewer than one in five students -- far below the numbers in other countries. ACTFL officials welcomed recent encouragement by President Barack Obama for U.S. students to learn foreign languages but questioned whether Obama's comments will translate to policy changes.

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