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Keywords:

  • foreign language education;
  • K–12 education;
  • language policy;
  • language survey;
  • world language education

Abstract: How well are our schools preparing students to become global citizens who can communicate in languages other than English? To answer this question, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 5,000 U.S. public and private elementary and secondary schools. Results identify current patterns and shifts over time in five key areas of K–12 foreign language education: amount of language instruction; languages and program types offered; curriculum and instruction; teacher certification, professional development, and teacher shortages; and the effects of education reform. Results reveal that despite some positive developments, overall foreign language instruction has decreased over the past decade and the achievement gap has widened. The article concludes with recommendations on how to progress toward achieving foreign language proficiency for all students.