It's hard enough to get children to read, write, and speak English correctly, so what is one elementary school in New York doing? Teaching Arabic. The curriculum will spend as much time teaching the children Arabic as it spends on science and music courses. Forget French and Spanish. This school sees Arabic as the language of the future.
An upper Manhattan public elementary school will be the first in the city to require that students study Arabic, officials said yesterday.
Beginning next semester, all 200 second- through fifth-graders at PS 368 in Hamilton Heights will be taught the language twice a week for 45 minutes -- putting it on equal footing with science and music courses.
One reason Principal Nicky Kram Rosen selected Arabic -- as opposed to more common offerings, such as Spanish or French -- is because it will help the school obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate standing.
"She proposed this to the parent association. They were very supportive," said Angela Jackson, CEO of the Global Language Project, which is backing the initiative.
"Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language," she said, citing students' future "career trajectories."