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All 2nd to 5th graders at PS 368 in Hamilton Heights, NY will be taught Arabic twice a week for 45 minutes. That is a total of 90 minutes of instruction per week — "putting it on equal footing with science and music courses", as the NY Post points out.
The principal is Nicky Kram Rosen and she sought this requirement to achieve a prestigious International Baccalaureate rating.
They have a pilot program in the works right now but this will become mandatory for all students come September.
Mohamed Mamdouh, who teaches the pilot program, said, “Soon, Arabic will be a global language like French and Spanish. These kids are like sponges. It’s amazing to see their progress.’’
Mamdouh yesterday played a version of duck, duck, goose with the kids using the Arabic words for mother and father — mama and baba — for ducks and geese.
The Global Language Project is providing teachers and the Qatar Foundation is paying them for these classes to be held. The school is optional, so groups like Media Matters think it is nothing to get worked up about. But it is still a public school receiving public dollars.
They said that if anybody objects, they will deal with it on a case by case basis.
This is not the first time a case like this has happened for the sake of money. In Mansfield, TX a school said they were going to teach children Arabic language and culture. They were approved for a grant by the federally funded Foreign Language Assistance Program that identified Arabic as the language of the future. They have since put the program on hold after parents called them out.