Some middle school students' parents were shocked this week when they found out that two schools in their Mansfield, TX school district will soon be requiring Arabic language and culture courses. It's a decision those parents say was sprung on them:
The Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded to Mansfield ISD last summer by the U.S. Department of Education.
As part of the five-year $1.3 Million grant, Arabic classes would be mandatory at Cross Timbers Intermediate School and Kenneth Davis Elementary School. The program would also be optional for students at T. A. Howard Middle School and Summit High School.
Parents at Cross Timbers say they were caught off-guard by the program, and were surprised the district only told them about it in a meeting Monday night between parents and Mansfield ISD Superintendent Bob Morrison.
The DOE has identified Arabic as a ‘language of the future.’ [...]
During Monday’s meeting Morrison stressed the curriculum would not be about religion, but about Arabic language and culture, similar to Spanish curriculum already in place in the district.
"This grant is a wonderful opportunity for the students in MISD," the school district writes in a meeting announcement on its website. "Mansfield ISD graduates will possess the language proficiency and cross cultural communication skills to compete in the 21st century. Our students will be at an advantage in an increasingly diverse and economically global society."