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Letter: Support Darien Elementary Language Program

DARIEN, Conn. – The following letter was sent to the Darien Board of Selectmen, Board of Education, Board of Finance and RTM by Susan and Brian Daly.

We are writing to urge you to support the new foreign language initiative for our elementary schools. We need a foreign language program in the elementary schools (most of us would agree on this) and we need it for a number of reasons.

We are strong supporters of the early integration of foreign languages into our schools and believe that the cognitive catalysts, academic advantages and prospective professional opportunities afforded the multilingual student are simply too great to ignore. At the same time, more information on and exposure to other cultures and traditions is a necessity in today’s world (and here in our suburban enclave), and that comes through language.

Even if you are not sold on the advantages of such a program, the market (i.e., the surrounding towns of New Canaan, Westport and Weston) is, and this should be taken into account here in Darien.  (While we do not advocate blind “trend following” at all in a community like ours that relies on the public education to support property values, does any property owner really want a negative differentiator?)

This program may not be perfect, and it may not be as rigorous and transformative as the proponents of early foreign language instruction – like us – had hoped for, but it is a start. Let's take what is on offer now, test it out, and hopefully build on its success in the future.

To each of you, we recognize that you are our friends and neighbors and are investing many, many hours in overseeing our educational and governmental institutions, often without thanks or recognition.  Many thanks for all you do for our town.  We appreciate that this is a hard decision, but it will have a lasting impact on our children and community.

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