02 September 2011

Cutting Back on Kazakh (and Uzbek and Uyghur and Tajik and...)

Inside Higher Ed has an article about some of the results of the budget cuts to less-commonly-taught foreign language programs in the US.  I've mentioned before that we've been hit hard by cuts to foreign language education and it truly blows my mind that someone thought it was financially sound to cut $50 million for these languages, especially when we're talking about a $12 trillion dollar deficit.  Maybe the Department of Defense ought to pick up the tab for these programs since they seem to have no trouble getting the money they need.  Here's a quote detailing some of the results of the cuts.

The Language Resource Centers estimate that the number of teachers they train this year will drop 35 percent, from just over 17,000 to 11,130. If the cuts are extended, about 9,300 teachers will be trained in 2012-13, according to the survey, Kazanjian [a consultant with the Coalition for International Education] said.
The number of federally designated "priority languages" taught to teachers will drop from 51 to 15 over two years, the centers estimate. Research on 35 priority languages will be dropped, including Pashto, Tajik, Turkish and Urdu, Kazanjian said. Capacity in Arabic, Chinese and Russian -- the most popular priority languages -- will be severely limited.
The survey of National Resource Centers isn’t complete. But many of the least commonly taught languages will probably be eliminated, Kazanjian said. “A number of them have engaged in stopgap measures for the first year of the cut,” she said. “If these cuts are going to continue into fiscal year 2012, something drastic will have to happen.”
The impacts of the cuts vary. By federal standards, the Title VI program is small: the cuts this year total $50 million, and few campuses lost as much as $1 million. But the money was a “linchpin” that drove universities and private donors to invest in language, Kazanjian said. “The money is not very much, but it’s actually had a multiplier effect,” she said. “Once you pull that plug, it starts to unravel.”


  1. Um, yeah. It's hard to see the real logic in this move. Way to cut the things that actually solve problems (like increasing cultural understanding), and continue alienating and killing people instead.