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Language Classes

September 11, 1988

It is with pleasure that we read William Bennett's final report as secretary of education (Part I, Aug. 31).

Of particular note was his recommendation for foreign-language classes to begin by the fourth grade. We heartily concur. However, here in California there is little need to "teach" foreign languages to many of our students. We have the privilege of having diverse ethnic and linguistic communities that contribute their rich languages to our culture. We can utilize and benefit from this linguistic pool of talent by promoting the maintenance and extension of the languages these individuals bring to us.

California has over 1 million students from homes where languages other than English are spoken. These students represent a national treasure. How better to achieve the admirable goal of the secretary of education than by enhancing and supporting, from kindergarten onward, the language skills already existing within the United States.

CHERYL VALDEZ

Placentia

ROXANNE SCHNELL-

TOROSIAN

Whittier

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