For foreign languages, economy of scale has gone to one

November 22, 2010 •

A small Wisconsin village recently experienced the challenge of trying to manage budget difficulties within the confines of existing processes.

This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes how the district began offering Chinese classes in 2005; a reflection of the town’s history having the oldest trading ties with China in the state. Marathon County’s relationship with the country goes back a century, built around their ginseng crop.

“In an abrupt change, however, Marathon City this year was forced to cancel its Chinese-language program, a victim of cuts in the state education budget.” The article goes on to explain that language enrollment in public schools in Wisconsin’s has declined consistently since a peak in 2005.

But: Need the language class have been lost in the first place? It is expensive to maintain staff, but in an age of online programs such as Live Mocha, the economy of scale has gone to one. The learning process may be a bit different, but that’s not a bad thing. It is a great testament to the community that Marathon City had set up a Chinese language program. It could still happen; could still be done; is still possible.

Marathon High School, Marathon City, WI