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ABSTRACT  All too often in education “new” programs are planned without thoroughly investigating what was done in the past. By examining earlier FLES efforts, curriculum planners can put to good use what was learned from FLES of the fifties and sixties.

This articles looks at the history of FLES in the United States. Besides the usually-quoted reasons of 1) lack of money, 2) return to the basics, and 3) xenophobia on the part of Americans, six other important and recurring reasons for the decline of FLES in the fifties and sixties are explored. Based on these reasons, a checklist has been developed for new and existing programs to use as a means of self evaluation.