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Foreign language set for elementary schools

Eighteen positions for teaching foreign language in elementary schools were approved at the March 1 Board of Education meeting, said Russ Oaks, Knox County Schools system spokesman.

Oaks said details about the proposal have not been nailed down. There has been no decision about which elementary schools would have foreign language offered, or whether teachers would divide their time between schools.

“We’re still in the process of looking at how we will develop that program,” he said. “It will be a challenge to find qualified people to fill these positions, but if we get the funding, that’s a challenge we’re willing to undertake.

“There are some National Language Initiative issues, too, that we need to look at,” Oaks added, referring to President George W. Bush’s January proposal to fund foreign languages in elementary schools.

Oaks said the proposal will go to Knox County Mayor Michael Ragsdale’s office, and on to Knox County Commission.

“Normally, what we’ve had to do in the past is cut our budget,” Oaks said.

“I would be in favor of putting foreign language in elementary school,” said Charles “Chuck” James, 6th Board of Education representative.

James said he would want to see it in every school. “I want every student — north, south, east and west — to have the same opportunities. Five votes on the school board can do anything. You never know.”


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