Tip of the hat to Peanut for this find:
It’s amazing what gymnastics a local school district will go through to receive federal money. Take the example of the Mansfield Independent School District in Texas, which obviously isn’t independent enough to pass up the opportunity for $1.3 million over five years from Beltway bureaucrats in exchange for integrating Arabic studies into their elementary and intermediate school curriculum.
Still, the Mansfield district claims the program was installed because Arabic is a “critical language” that not enough Americans speak. “This means that our country has a shortage of Arabic speakers and there is a need for people who are not only proficient in the Arabic language, but also possess knowledge about its cultures and traditions.” It also “supports the diversity within MISD.”
The Arabic curriculum, while voluntary for 5th through 8th graders, drew an outcry among parents and interested observers who worried about it being a backdoor method for indoctrination to the Islamic religion. Bowing to this pressure, the district placed the program “on hold” but didn’t close the door to future implementation.
Ironically, the Foreign Language Assistance Program this Mansfield grant came from is part of the No Child Left Behind package of reforms spearheaded by George W. Bush. It shows what happens when the best of intentions are left to bureaucrats in Washington instead of being kept at the local level.