Share of Elementary Schools Teaching Languages Other than English, by Control of School, Academic Years 1986/1987– 2007/2008Back to table of contents
Most experts believe that language exposure at a young age provides a child with the greatest chance to acquire a high level of proficiency. However, a dwindling number of the nation’s schools offer any language education. In academic year 2007/2008, 25% of elementary schools taught languages other than English. This marked a six percentage point drop from 1996/1997, with the largest decline at public schools. As of the most recent survey, 15% of public elementary schools had a program for languages other than English, compared with more than 50% of private elementary schools (which teach a small fraction of the nation’s elementary school students).