Board of Education Updates Foreign Language Standards

June 14, 2007

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Board of Education has revised state policy to add 21st century foreign language content standards and objectives.  

Policy 2520 defines what courses should contain for all programs of study. Policy 2520.7 addresses foreign languages. The revisions facilitate easier use by West Virginia teachers and incorporate higher levels of critical thinking and problem solving skills that students will need to be competitive in the 21st century.  

“The globalization phenomenon of the 21st century has changed how West Virginia and other states must think about educating their children,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “We know that subjects and skills once thought optional are now essential to enter college or get a job. A thorough knowledge of foreign languages is essential for global awareness in the today’s digital economy.”  

In 2005, West Virginia became the second state in the nation to join the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which marries business interests with classroom instruction. The partnership has 30 members, including Adobe Systems Inc., Apple, Cisco Systems, Dell Inc., Ford Motor Co., Microsoft, Time Warner and Verizon, among others.  

Since joining the partnership, West Virginia has worked to add rigor to its educational system and incorporate 21st century skills throughout the curriculum, including learning and thinking skills; information and communications skills; technology skills; and work place productivity skills.  

“Students must be able to comprehend, problem solve and communicate solutions if they are expected to compete globally,” Paine said. “Our 21st Century Learning initiative provides a system-wide approach that will provide our graduates with the intellectual capital to compete in an interconnected world.”

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