This week's Agenda Review also had an extended discussion about whether the district should continue to offer Italian as a foreign language option at Brashear. The discussion was sparked by a vote on an order for new Italian testbooks. Administration reported that about 200 students study Italian at Brashear and that it is a very popular offering.
Board members discussed what languages PPS should be offering, expressing a strong preference for Spanish and Chinese. Board member Sharene Shealey remarked that one of her children was to be placed in a 30 student class at Colfax next year and so she could not support the purchase of books for Italian classes.
This topic raises many issues for discussion.
First, would it really save significant money to discontinue Italian? Let's say the district replaced the Italian teacher with a Spanish teacher (if one could be found); it is still paying for a teacher and still paying for textbooks. Also, at last word the Italian teacher also taught French. Would the school really be better off replacing an Italian and French teacher and limiting students to just Spanish? And where exactly do the cost savings come in, and how much is saved?
Another issue- if classes are so crowded at Colfax, but there are empty seats in other schools, why are school assignment lines not being redrawn and students transported to schools where there is excess capacity?