2014 August 10 Sunday
Latin Immersion Schools For The Lower Classes?

Teaching in Latin is held up as yet another solution for kids with low reading ability. 50 years from now genetic engineering will be the accepted solution.

Suppose this movement takes off. If each city had a few Latin immersion schools then the parents who can't afford private schools but who have fairly bright kids could use Latin immersion to separate their kids from totally unruly classrooms where little learning takes place. The kids would also gain the ability to read Roman authors such as Julius Caesar in their original language. Since the Latin texts are better than some of the stuff which kids are expected to read today that would be an additional plus.

I think ideas which cause a larger variety of types of schools to flourish help buffer parents and kids from the many educational policy mandates enacted by insanely progressive educational policy makers over the last 40 years or so. The people driving educational policy have broken their tether to reality and

Granted, native language instruction for Spanish-speaking immigrants is a bad idea. The immigrants need to learn English. But kids who we can expect to learn excellent English (e.g. children of Chinese immigrants) aren't going to get hurt if they spend a large fraction of their day in Chinese language classes. Similarly, upper class parents who send their kids to French or Latin or Greek language immersion schools aren't going to alter the educational trajectory of their kids by much. Bright kids will turn out well if put in classes and schools with only well behaved kids all busily immersing themselves in German or Chinese or Japanese.

In Europe I'd like to know whether teaching kds other languages slows their progress in other topics. My guess is that a constructive use of early childhood education would be second language immersion. Kids can learn languages faster at very young ages. If they learned Latin or French or Chinese starting at age 3 they could do it with little opportunity cost. Then they could safely spend their grade school years in language immersion schools getting good educations in city school systems where most schools are full of students who perform poorly on standardized tests.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 August 10 07:40 PM 

Lot said at August 10, 2014 11:14 PM:

Is this parody of blank-slateism? "Low-Literacy" Americans who can't read a newspaper or instructions on workplace procedures will soon be giving Classical Latin oral recitals of Ovid and Juvenal?

Jim said at August 11, 2014 7:53 AM:

There is nothing magic about Classical Latin or Classical Greek any more than there is about Classical Sanskrit or Classical Arabic or for that matter Anglo-Saxon. I don't think that it is the best use of time available for general school instruction. People who intend to specialize in Ancient or Miedeval History can learn these languages in college.

jim said at August 11, 2014 7:58 AM:

I've read the article in the Post you linked to and I have determined that it is complete, total and utter nonsense.

JB said at August 11, 2014 10:05 AM:

Another not-entirely-serious attempt to pretend that when you have a third-world population you magically won't become a third-world country.

Stephen said at August 11, 2014 6:46 PM:

A quote from Winston Churchill comes to mind:

[B]y being so long in the lowest form I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that. But I was taught English. We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English. Mr. Somervell -- a most delightful man, to whom my debt is great -- was charged with the duty of teaching the stupidest boys the most disregarded thing -- namely, to write mere English. He knew how to do it. He taught it as no one else has ever taught it. Not only did we learn English parsing thoroughly, but we also practised continually English analysis. . . Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence -- which is a noble thing. And when in after years my schoolfellows who had won prizes and distinction for writing such beautiful Latin poetry and pithy Greek epigrams had to come down again to common English, to earn their living or make their way, I did not feel myself at any disadvantage. Naturally I am biased in favour of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for would be not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that.

― Winston Churchill, My Early Life, 1874-1904

lindenen said at August 11, 2014 8:42 PM:

This makes sense to me. Latin roots are common in the English language. I credit my study of Latin with a higher Verbal SAT score.

Jim said at August 12, 2014 6:26 AM:

Since most of these Latin roots ( other than Indo-European cognates ) came via (a Latin word! ) Norman French wouldn't it make more sense to have children study Fench? Certainly a knowledge of French would seem to be of more practical value in the modern world than a knowledge of classical Latin. The kids could learn how to gain status by throwing out fancy French phrases. N'est-ce pas?

Big Bill said at August 19, 2014 10:35 AM:

These various "immersion schools" provide a way for white parents to stay in the public school system. As a NAM repellent it is as effective as playing Country music or Frank Sinatra on a 7-11 Muzak system. NAMs will self-segregate and avoid these schools like the plague. And the handful of NAMs who do attend have parents who are strivers and welcome the chance to get their kids away from hoodrats.

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