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Several speak in favor of keeping CPS language courses

Dozens of people, in one language or another, told Columbia’s Board of Education to keep its language courses intact.

The board did not vote on anything, but heard a report on the work done by a group on the district’s World Languages programs. That includes foreign language classes.

CPS will phase out German and Japanese programs due to low enrollment. The district consolidated the high-level courses into one class. The second-, third- and fourth-year German classes, for example, now take place within one class.

The speakers at the meeting included students and faculty, along with parents and some University of Missouri professors. Students reported that the combined-level classes were hard to follow, and difficult for teachers to engage them.

All speakers supported the district keeping the six languages it offers.

“When you stop offering a language, you’re turning your back on that language,” sixth-grader Catherine Fajen said. “And when you turn your back on that language, you’re turning your back on all the people that speak that language.”

The world language working group recommended keeping those courses on board. First-level language classes would be offered at middle and high schools, and higher level courses with low enrollment would be done at a centralized location.

The district would provide the board with more data, like the cost and enrollment data, at a later meeting.

CPS currently offers Spanish, German, French, Latin, Chinese and Japanese classes. CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said for this school year, fourth-year German had eight students enrolled across the three high schools. Fourth-year Spanish classes had enrolled 156 students.

Alison Kaiser, a language instructor for CPS, told ABC 17 News there are currently enrolled for German classes.

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