New technologies and resourceful school districts will only get us so far. We need policymakers to prioritize language education so that America's students -- and our entire economy -- can reach their full potential.
What would you do if you could give your child something that is proven to boost her creativity, empathy and cognitive functions, while putting her on a path to increased academic and career success? You'd jump all over it, right?
Whether we do the job by sending our students overseas, by connecting them with the "international" communities in our own backyards or by making sure they experience the world in our classrooms, we have a duty to prepare our students for the global world.
As it turns out, learning languages is easier -- and more pleasurable -- for some folks than for others. In fact, there is a group of individuals who find the process so enjoyable that they take it to another level entirely. They're known as hyperpolyglots.
The lack of volition to travel overseas corresponds to a shocking ignorance about other parts of the world. Contemporary students are notoriously ignorant of world geography. Many of them think that Africa, for example, is one country rather than a continent of 53 sovereign nations.