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May 17th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Should U.S. high schools require students speak English to graduate?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's new requirement for earning a high school diploma at one high school in Connecticut. It's not calculus or biochemistry or learning a foreign language even. It's learning this country's language, English.

The city of New London's board of education has approved a measure stating that, starting with next year's incoming freshman class, students will have to prove they can speak, read and write "American English" - and do it well - in order to earn their diploma. Apparently those are skills many high schoolers in New London lack. Only 16 percent of sophomores at New London High School scored well in English on standardized tests last year, and only 55 percent were deemed "proficient."

The New London student body is made up of immigrants from at least 28 countries. It's an indication how much of a challenge English is in the town that the school district website is translated into 52 languages.

New London is the first district in the state of Connecticut to pass such a rule. Students at New London High will have several testing options to demonstrate their command of English, and will have until age 21 to meet the requirement.

Here’s my question to you: Should U.S. high schools require students to speak English in order to graduate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jamie in St. Louis, Missouri:
If it's the school's job to best prepare someone to go out into the world with the skills to survive on their own then of course they should. The question seems a little absurd. Liberals can call it racist or bigoted or whatever but you aren't doing anyone any favors by sending them out into the work force in a country that is predominately monolingual. If they're going to have any chance at a decent paying job they're going to have to learn English eventually. Why not in high school?

Daniel in Groveland, California:
Unless we changed the official language of the U.S., yes. Why is this up for debate?

Gigi in Oregon:
No. It should be a part of the requirements to take English, but if the student can pass all requirements in their language, they should receive their diploma. Because we in the states are lazy about learning a second or multiple languages should not punish a student of another language.

Jeff:
Emphatically yes! My mother came to this country from Germany at age 4 and entered kindergarten at age 5. To this day she still finds it hard to discuss growing up and having to learn English pretty quickly or suffer the consequences. She practically cries when she reads things like we should be teaching dual English-Spanish or that we need to cater to a specific ethnic group. English is the language of America.

Steve in Virginia:
Whatever language the student can clearly communicate that they have achieved and satisfied the level of learning set forth by a particular educational institution. Education is education. The means by which one communicates should be secondary as long as the level of education can be demonstrated.

Jon in Lima, Ohio:
Well it seems to me that English is a required subject. I think four years of it are required to graduate from just about every school, so I don't get the point of the question. To me, it's like asking if a person should know how to swim to get a lifeguard certificate.

M.D.:
Isn't that asking too much? Next they will want students to be able to spell, learn geography and be able to write a thank you card.


Filed under: Education
soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. Balboa from Huntsville Alabama

    It would be extremely helpful if U.S. high schools did require students to speak English but first of all how could they graduate if they didn't speak it. If they can graduate speaking another language I would be in support of letting anyone graduate high school in whatever language they wanted to speak because after all this is the land of opportunity and everyone should have a fair chance at an education and should be respected and treated fairly by all.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  2. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Yes, unless they have hopes of a future in hotel hospitality services, lawn care, or ditch digging.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Eddie Quintal--Peoria IL

    Yes, and I say this with no bias, I grew up in a country (India) where English was a second language and over the last decade and a little more I have seen people from India whose second language was English struggle to hold onto jobs (if they ever got in to an Organization) in an International Arena. If we want out Students in America and the future generations of America to compete in the International arena then English must be made an important mode of communication. We will be restricting their growth even before they bloomed by making English an optional language. The world is getting smaller and the Arena we compete in, will not just be our city, our state or our country

    May 17, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  4. B. J. , Quincy,Ill

    Yes, it's been that way and has set a presedent that should be followed. Either that or let's throw out the rule books and just run wild.See how far that get's us.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  5. maggieb

    Yes, English is our Language, any one who doesn't want to learn English should leave the U.S

    Houston texas

    May 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  6. Lou Mullin

    I feel certain that this is not a problem in any school that is not a public education school. Most people who can afford a private school can speak some degree of English. It is probably a problem for public schools however because their civil liberties would be involved. My opinion is that students who cannot speak English should not be put in our public schools. Those who hire their parents can solve the problem of where their children go to school. It is just one more problem with hiring illegals. I live where there is a significant influx of Hispanics who cannot speak English. The immigration thinking is we are supposed to pay their schooling, their medical needs, let them drive drunk and without any insurance just so the Republican farm owners can have their cheap labor.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  7. John, Lake Charles, LA

    This is the United States of America Jack. The national language is english. Any body who can't speak english should go back to whatever country understands them. There are plenty of people all over the world that speak better english then a lot of natural born Americans. There is no excuse for not learning the language if you really want to live here (and you are now or legally becoming a U.S. citizen)..

    May 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  8. RB in CA

    This is one of those “chicken or the egg” questions.

    Since schools in America teach their curriculum in English, a student would have to understand the English language in order to complete the countless reading and writing assignments required for promotion then graduation.

    If a student does not understand English, how could they satisfactorily complete the mandated workload and fulfill all the graduation prerequisites… Unless, of course, they have been educated entirely in their native tongue rather than in English. And if that is the case, we as a society are doing them a huge injustice by sending them out unprepared to communicate and compete equally in the workforce.

    RB in CA

    May 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  9. Kevin in CA

    Well ... Yes! What the heck to they require now ?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  10. pat, Idaho

    In a single word-YES

    May 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  11. Barbara Leavitt

    Common sense says YES. Why would they not want to? Will certainly help them once they are in the work force. Unless they have no plan of joining it.

    Henderson Nevada

    May 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  12. jc

    How are they passing any somewhat demanding courses if they can't read, write or speak English fluently?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  13. Ken in Seattle

    I believe it is reasonable to expect a student to speak the language of the country in which they graduate from high school. Regardless of the country in which the school they are attending is located. Although an exception might be made for students whose circumstances have resulted in their not having a sufficient amount of time in which to learn the language prior to graduation. In general,people should learn the language of the country in which they are living for an extended period of time whether they are students or adults. And again, regardless of the country.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  14. ken, atlantic city, nj

    yes, of course.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  15. Carl

    Jack,

    The true and only answer, is yes. But i'am sure the politically correct to a fault politicians will say no. A better question would be, why and how did you ever get in our school systems if you didn't speak english and be a legal U.S. citizen to begin with? Say no to amnesty, stop the invasion now.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  16. Robert

    They need to be able to pass there course exams that are written in English.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  17. AzRose

    Yes, U. S. High schools should require that all graduates speak english. I believe that the students should be able to speak English before they enter High School. Children just starting school should be taking English classes although the English learners are taught with tax payer money and personally I resent paying for them to learn our language, I think that is the responsibility of the parents.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  18. Lene',IL

    Absolutely YES! English is this country's official language and it is ridiculous not to require English to be spoken.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  19. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Yes! The American education system should prepare every student for life in America... not little Mexico. Mainstreaming students with English as a second language (ESL) helps to assimilate that generation.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  20. John from Alabama

    Jack: Yes, high school graduates should be able to speak English or American, before they receive a high school diploma. English is the language of business in America, but the language at the supper table can be any other language the household wishes. There are places to keep cultural beliefs alive, but English has a requirement to graduate is a good one.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  21. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Duh, yes and in all reality teachers should not be required to speak Spanish to get a job. It's like buy American. If you want to live here and work here, speak English.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  22. Russ in PA

    Und wie soll mann sonst die Pruefungen bestehen, wenn man kein Englisch versteht, hmmm?

    Of course, it does seem like a good idea that one speak more than just a single language...

    May 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  23. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    This is America and our primary language is English and if you cannot speak English then you should not be able to graduate. If I were to go to another country to live, I would want to learn the language, because it is necessary to be able to find decent work and function properly.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  24. Donald Ainsworth

    Definately YES, Don from Wapakoneta, Ohio

    May 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  25. Tony

    Absolutely. By learning english, the highschooler's will have a better opportunity to further their education, and maybe get a job beacause they are now bi-lingual. As long as the dollar is the currency standard for the world, english is still the universal language. Therefore, Jack, you might want to take up another language , such as, Chinese, so you can communicate with the future highschool graduates in China studying journalism who will take your Job!

    Tony
    Tacoma, WA

    May 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  26. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Please post in English the ones you read on the air. Thank You!

    May 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  27. Robert

    Comment correction: They need to be able to pass their course exams that are written in English.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  28. virginia - Atlanta, GA

    Sure, how about English and at least one other language as well. We could have children as literate as other countries' children.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  29. Lene',IL

    This should not even be a question. English is the official language of the United States of America. What is going on with this country? Our language is being challenged. You cannot have pride in our flag anymore because it may "offend" someone. Since when did it become UnAmerican to be American????

    May 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  30. Loren, Chicago

    This seems so obviously yes that I'm thinking that this must be a teachers union thing to create more Spanish-speaking union jobs. I am unwilling to give up on the notion that this is an English speaking nation and that a fundamental skill to be taught in school is to communicate in that language. Anything else is pandering.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  31. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    What's the official language of the United States of America? What's the international language of business? Are these kids being educated in a Mexico satetite school? No wonder our education system is broken. The teacher's unions are strangling states, neglecting their jobs and the answer is "let's lower the bar". Now it's too much for kids to learn English in America. The next global study will come out and show America is lagging behind other countries in reading and math and the next answer will be "teachers don't make enough to compete. We need to raise taxes for schools". Enough! Every state needs to be a right to work state. Tenure should be abolished and kids that don't meet the fundemental requirements to advance in a grade need to be held back until they do, regardless of what some touchy-feely shrink thinks it will do to the kid's self-esteem. It won't be nearly as bad as a lifetime of disappointment and no opportunity.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  32. Paul, New Port Richey, Fl

    Absolutely. English has been, is, and always will be the language of America despite the boneheads inside the beltways despicable failure to make it 'official'. The is no press 2 on my phone.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  33. Greg in Arkansas

    The way the U.S economy is headed, learning to speak Chinese would be more useful.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  34. Brad, Portland, OR

    Yes. Permanent residents and naturalized citizens should be required to speak English fluently as a required condition of their status. And a citizen who was born here has absolutely no excuse not to speak English fluently.

    So a high school requirement that students speak English fluently in order to graduate shouldn't trip up anyone but illegal aliens. And they shouldn't even be here.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  35. Joe

    Yes Jack students should be required to read, speak, and write English with reasonable comprehension, because ... what unifies our nation is a common language that helps us manage the polarization in our lives; otherwise, we have a set of separate individuals with no consensus for anything close to a universal purpose.

    Behavior (language) reflects an attitude, which permeates throughout the US.
    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    May 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  36. Rick, Medina, OH

    Jack,

    Ethnic diversity is healthy for America, and has contributed to our culture since our inception. As our economy continues to become more global in nature, we need more multi-lingual citizens. But, we need to have some attributes in common ... a glue that binds us. Among other things, that includes a common currency, laws and mores, and language. Ethnic groups for centuries have maintained much of their native identity, but also assimilated to a common American one. Recent immigrants must learn to do the same.

    Rick,
    Medina, OH

    May 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  37. Jayne

    Yes. Besides being the language used most in this country, it's also the second language of most citizens of foreign countries. It would be very difficult to succeed in life without being fluent in English.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  38. Ed from MD

    No but they should require it to enter high schools. It would be very distracting to other students contending with non english speaking students in their classes. Speaking english should be #1 priority of anyone attempting to assimilate into American society.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  39. Dee

    Jack,

    Most non American countries require that their students have a strong grasp of the English language in order to graduate. Why would'nt an English speaking country require that their students have a strong grasp of the English language also? For example, English is taught to all school aged children in China, The Phillipines, and in India.

    Dee

    Houston, TX

    May 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  40. Gerry

    Sure makes sense to me. With the majority of the population speaking English it would sure be to a graduates advantage to speak the language of the country that he/she is in. A second or third language is certainly beneficial in the business world but English is essential.

    Gerry
    Ash Fork, Az.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  41. Conor in Chicago

    Yes. All citizens should be required to speak English. Even if it means we need a law stating as such. English doesn't have to be the only language we speak in the US but as the majority does speak it English should be the language that bonds us all together. If you want to speak Spanish only move back.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  42. Annie, Atlanta

    It certainly would make it easier, for teachers as well as students. I would never consider moving to Paris unless I spoke French. When my dad entered kindergarten in Chicago years ago, he only spoke Italian. The school sent him home with a note instructing his parents to make sure he spoke English before he could return. It wasn't too much to ask. Imparare la lingua. (learn the language)

    May 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  43. Ken from Pinon Hills California

    Children should be required to speak English to get into kindergarten.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  44. Art Folden

    Yes.. students should be required to speak English to graduate.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  45. Jenn

    I would assume that they would be unable to pass English class (of which 4 years were required when I graduated) if they cannot speak English so it would seem to be a moot point.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  46. Scott in Bellingham

    Yes, a high school diploma should represent proof that a student has achieved a reasonable proficiency with the English language, our national language, at the very least.

    Students with less should not graduate.

    The State of Washington requires English proficiency as well as 2 years of a foreign language for college entrance. This meager standard has stood for 60 years.

    In 1950 laborers represented 92% of the workforce. In 2010, skilled labor represents 92% of the workforce. If you do not know English, what the hell are you going to do?

    May 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  47. Chandler in Rockaway, NJ

    Yes, and they should all be fluent in at least one other language as well.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  48. John Moore - New Britain, PA

    Jack,
    Of course they should, it should be a basic. Without the ability to communicate in English no one can achieve anywhere near their potential. Having a second language is a good thing but English is essential.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  49. Michael W. Moon

    Actually, I think US High Schools should require students to speak both English and Spanish fluently before they can graduate. And considering that China will likely surpass the US in global dominance economically in the next century, it wouldn't hurt to give extra credit for proficiency in Mandarin as well. We sell our kids short by restricting their required languages to English.

    Mike
    Odenville, AL

    May 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  50. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    Here's a novel idea- how about you cant get a drivers license, high school diploma, library card or vote unless you are able to speak English. Despite the fact that by 2050 English may not be the number one language spoken in the US, for now, it should be mandatory.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  51. Laura

    This question has too much potential to lead us down a slippery slope. How would you define 'English'? If you're going to specifically target immigrant students (who, usually upon graduation DO speak English), then you have to call all other forms of spoken English into question. Does anything that falls outside of white, suburbanite speak all of a sudden not count? Don't forget that there do currently exist forms of English, which many North Americans would not understand (Cockney, Patois, Appalachian English, etc) if they were exposed to them. A better way to ask this question would be to address various universal standards we might apply in order to make sure students graduate with certain linguistic commonalities.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  52. Tina Tx

    All students should be able to speak mulitple languages. We are in the times where you need to be able to communicate in multiple languages but usually the children of immigrants already know how to speak English where as their parents do not.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  53. Mike-Phx, Az.

    Jack, You mean to tell me they don't already? These people call themselves educators? Unless you want to perpetuate the division in this country then I would say yes, teach every kid in H.S to read and write the language of this country! BTW/ The Federal government needs to stop playing the PC game and make English the official language of the United States and mandate that every kid in school knows how to speak and read it.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  54. Pete in Georgia

    The fact that this question is even asked in 2011 is testimony to how our so called political leaders have tarnished a once great country called America. All for selfish devious agendas.

    Nuff sed.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  55. Thomas Beer

    Our immigrant ancestors saw this country as a chance for a fresh start, including the language. They kept their old language, but learned the language of business... which is English.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  56. Hubert Bertrand

    JACK: Some times I think you might have to speak spanish also. I'm a cajun and I use to speak french. I had to speak english to start school.Boy things have change. TOO bad it's not for the best.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  57. dean

    yes!!

    May 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  58. Chuck, ID

    Well, since this is the U.S., the operative answer would be heck yea, Jack.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  59. Jane (Minnesota)

    I'd rather the students pass math and science competancy with flying colors and know how to write properly to graduate before we worry about whether the students can speak English.

    There are a number of English speaking people in America that display a very poor command of the English language. If they happen to be in school, can we force these Americans to speak better English to graduate???

    May 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  60. Mike in Denver

    Why are we singling out speech? High school graduates today barely read or do basic math, and have no concept of history. When no one is allowed to fail, we all fail.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  61. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    I say YES, Jack and not for any "English should be the official language" reasons.

    jike it or not, English is the language of commerce in the United States. a young adult who can NOT converse in English is at a HUGE disadvantage in our country the same a someone who cannot converse in Spanish would be at a disadvantage trying to do business in Mexico or another South American country.

    that being said, Spanish as a second language is almost manditory to work in the resort business here in Las Vegas. young adults with a second or multipul languages are at a great advantage over those that speak only English.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  62. Reggie

    But of course. They are living in an English speaking country so therefore they have to be able to speak english to graduate. If after attending school up to actually reaching grade 12, they should know how to speak english or they should not have been promoted until they knew how to speak the language.

    I also believe that immigrants should have some knowledge of the english language before they are allowed to immigrate to our country.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  63. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    Tampa, Fl When I went to school, one had to speak at least one foreign language to graduate. Today seems that English is now a foreign language to most of our students that we American taxpayers have been forced to educate due to the inability of our government to enforce our immigration laws. English should be our National language, and this comes from a student that had a great deal of difficulty with passing English.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  64. Mike Palm Bay, Fl.

    I think not only the Kids in school should speak English, but every person that enters this Country should be made to speak our language, which is English ,in order to become a citizen.To bad the gutless Politicions do not feel the same way.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  65. Mr. D

    Isn't that asking too much? Next they will want students to be able to spell, learn geography and be able to write a thank you card.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  66. Jonathan J

    New York, NY

    With out a doubt. In fact, in many states, high school students are required to know a foreign language like Spanish or Italian before graduating regardless. And if you needed any more proof, the national language of the U.S. is English, so why not?

    May 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  67. Bill in Portales, NM

    One of the goals of the U.S. high schools should be that each graduate have a chance at job advancement. The graduate must be able to function in a workplace that may only speak English. To graduate a U.S. high school, the student must speak English.

    On the other hand, the U.S. schools should have a goal that most graduates speak a second language.

    This is an enviable goal, and the future U.S. may need it.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  68. Jon

    Well...it seems to me that English is a required subject. I think 4 years of it are required to graduate from just about every school, so I don't get the point of the question. To me, it's like asking if a person should know how to swim to get a lifeguard certificate.

    Jon
    Lima, Ohio

    May 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  69. Joe CE

    Yes it is important to their career outlook and it is unifying. One country, one offical language, one society. Preservaion of cultural heritage is good. To remain fluent in the language from the old country but not a subsitute for English.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  70. Joyce H

    All U.S. high schools should require students to speak English in order to graduate. WHY? Because this is an english-speaking country. I am all for Americans learning an additional language or two, but speaking English is the tie that binds us all together as a nation. Unless it's a private school designed for such, I can't imagine the costs that it would take to require each U. S. school district to try to teach students in several different languages other than English. We would soon be the modern day Tower of Babel if that were to happen.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  71. Jamie in St. Louis

    If it's the school's job to best prepare someone to go out into the world with the skills to survive on their own then of course they should. The question seems a little absurd. Liberals can call it racist or bigotted or whatever but you aren't doing anyone any favors by sending them out into the work force in a country that is predominately monolingual. If they're going to have any chance at a decent paying job they're going to have to learn English eventually. Why not in high school?

    May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  72. bob in florida

    Why start now?

    May 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  73. Bud Rupert

    Dah! That kinda makes sense. But, if you mean speaking the Queens English Properly-now that's a real challenge.
    So much of the culture is filled with language such as: " heh dude", "whuz-up" and "don't start trippin" it dumbs down verbal communications in today world. Of course it's very possible that our educational system was NEVER as good as we believe it to be in the so called "good-ole days". It's now clear that other cultures are much better at education in grades 1-12 then we are.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  74. Elizabeth From Toronto

    Of course. Any person who wants to earn a living in the US or indeed the larger world must speak English. English is the language of business. When another language becomes the language of business, then whatever that language is US High school graduates should graduate with that language as a second language.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  75. Dave in Phoenix

    Absolutely.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  76. Daniel Herman Groveland California

    Unless we changed the official language of the U.S. Yes, why is this up for debate?

    May 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  77. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I don't think it will really mater much because the way our government is spending and borrowing money in the next few years the Chinese will own everything in America. They can decide what language we speak. My guess is that it won't be Spanish.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  78. Jim S

    Absolutely Jack. Non-English speaking people present problems for law enforcement, 911 calls, the mail, fire protection, and a wide range of agencies that they must deal with. After all, English is the primary language in this country and if they're going to live here, then they should be made to learn english. I do think America should require that American children learn a second language which is the standard in Europe and has been for some time now.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  79. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    That's a question that need not be asked. I think it's just plain old ignorance if one thinks that speaking English should not be a pre-requisite to living in this country.
    If you want to talk to me, you speak English, period, other wise do not dis-respect me or the country I live in.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  80. Jeff O

    Emphatically yes! My mother came to this country from Germany at age 4 and entered kindergarten at age 5. Now you can imagine what type of verbal abuse she took as a youngster and to this day she still finds it hard to discuss growing up and having to learn English pretty quickly or suffer the consequences. She practically cries when she reads things like we should be teaching dual English-Spanish or that we need to cater to a specific ethnic group. English is the language of America. If you can't speak it or don't want to learn it, go someplace else!

    May 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  81. Paul P.

    No. In Canada, Quebec has Bill 101, which mandates mandatory use of the french language as a means of ensuring its survival in a predominately english world. That being said, I don't forsee english as being threatened in any way, so I have to ask myself what other reason is there? If religious freedom is protected, why should language be any different?

    May 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  82. Dennis north carolina

    English is the founding mode of speech when this country was created, so we should have to speak English. High schools should require students to speak and learn proper English.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  83. troy45

    Dear Jack;
    There's a great commercial on TV where a Chinese teacher points out that the U.S. failed like other Civ's because we strayed from the principles and ideals on which we were founded. It's quite profound and oh, so true. This country is endowed with so many "rights' that we have the right to abuse, misuse and totally skew them. English is the language of this country and now we have to ask if it's too much trouble for students to learn it?!! The Chinese speak better English than most Americans. If you don't like our standards and principles–Why are you still here??

    May 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  84. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Jack
    Not a question of High School curriculum. The core problem is open borders and covert immigration policies for thirty years

    May 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  85. J. Actor

    Every other country requires proficiency in its principal language in order to graduate high school. Why should the USA not do the same?

    The only addition could perhaps be the option of Spanish as that is the 2nd principal language here...

    May 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  86. David

    Simple Answer...YES!

    May 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  87. Rusty Soots

    I thought the whole point of GOING to school was to get a strong, well rounded education including a thorough understanding of English as a means towards graduation and certainly as a requirement to go to college. As a society, we must insist that all young people get the best possible education, including a mastery of English, so that they can become knowledgeable and productive citizens in a country that very much needs them.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  88. Peg in NY

    YES!

    May 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  89. David Scott Doherty

    How does somebody graduate from a US highschool without being able to speaking english? This is such an absurd question I can't believe it's being asked. If there are students that can't speak english graduating, then there should never ever be another student who was born in the U.S.A. FLUNKING OUT, period.

    Dave from NH.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  90. jack

    jack,
    You're kidding, are'nt you? Did Alan Funt and the Candid Camera crew just enter the room? It never ceases to amaze me, that this country continues to find more ways to become that much more dumb,when it comes to education. We used to be at the top, are around 15th(?) now and both the federal and state(s) goverments do nothing. Its time the Ostrich took it's head out of the sand or we very well may go the way of the Dodo.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  91. Lene', IL

    That should not even be a question. The official language of the United States of America is English so of course they should speak English. What is going on with this country lately? Our language is being challenged and we get told not to display our country's flag because it may "offend" someone. Since when did it become UnAmerican to be American?????

    May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  92. Dennis in Florida

    YES ! ! ! !

    For any successful society to move forward and to excel economically, socially and technically, it is of foremost importance that they speak a common language. Then other economically and technically important secondary languages can be taught.

    The most successful countries in the world today other than the US are Japan, China, Germany, Russia, S. Korea and a few others. All these countries have a common language. However, in these countries, a large percentage of the educated population speaks English as a second language. How many of these countries are teaching Spanish to a large fraction of their students?

    Get the point?????

    **************************************

    May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  93. Lashoud Powell

    Yes, all students should be required to speak English in America. Why should we cater to non-english speaking individuals, when other countries will not do the same. If you go to any other country, such as France, they would require you to speak French. So therefore, America should require students in public schools to speak English.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  94. Tony from Southport

    Geeez Jack..... ya think so???? Who could possibly suggest that students graduating an AMERICAN High School should be able to graduate without being able to speak English? It is an AMERICAN school we're talking about, isn't it Jack? Or is it located in Brazil? Or Mexico. Or perhaps in Kenya!!!

    May 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  95. Rick McDaniel

    Absolutely!

    No room for discussion on that issue!

    May 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  96. Cee, La

    Yes most definately.... they should learn English to graduate....

    May 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  97. Eric - Houston

    Absolutely, frankly if they can't then their education, if you can even call it that, is worthless here and we have wasted their time and our resources.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  98. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    Students in American schools must be required to speak English prior to being granted entry to any school"s curriculum. I have two daughters who are high school teachers and they are constantly challenged by non English speaking children. The big issue is that these few children hold the rest of the class back while extra time is spent in explaining what is being taught and the rest of the class is forced to sit and listen when they should be proceeding with the lesson. It does not matter if they are legal or illegal, they are impeding progress in our school systems and test scores validate that issue. America is losing ground, educationally, every year to the rest of the developed world. There is not enough time and resources to adequately teach all children within our current structure. Special accommodations must be made for non-english speaking children.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  99. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Yes. Many of our ancesters came to the "Melting Pot" years ago and had to learn English. Without an adequate profficiency these people will not be able to get jobs or function in society. English is the native language and should have been and Still Needs to be made the Official language of the United States.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  100. Anthony J. Frascino from Swedesboro, NJ

    Better make that requirement multilingual, Jack. With the explosion of the hispanic community, we're going to have to know Spanish like Canada which requires French and English. And after China takes over the world economy, our kids will need knowledge of Mandarin to function in the business world. Get over it. Most Europeans know five languages and it's time our kids prepare for this contingency.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  101. Steve, Clifton, VA

    What ever language the student can clearly communicate that they have achieved and satisfied the level of learning set forth by a particular educational institution. Education is education. The means by which one communicates should be secondary as long as the level of education can be demonstrated.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  102. JENNA ROSEVILLE CA

    Should U.S. high schools require students to speak English in order to graduate?

    YES. But I also believe that all students should be able to speak another language fluently to graduate as well. Our nation is no longer the IT nation. We are global. And in order to suceed in a Global environment our children must in the very least be bi-lingual.

    We have been too arogant for too long and our children are suffering for it!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    May 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  103. Gigi Oregon

    No...It should be a part of the requirements to take English but if the student can pass all requirements in their language, they should receive their diploma. Because we in the states are lazy about learning a second or multiple languages should not punish a student of another language. Encouragement is the best policy and the most appreciated.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  104. Kevin in Albuquerque

    I don't think is should be a requirement to graduate, but should be a required class to take while in high school for those that don't speak english, after all it will help when they graduate and seek employment.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  105. Matt from Munster, IN

    Absolutely. I don't want students who have the potential to become doctors and engineers to be unable to succeed in college because they can't understand their professors. If we want to compete with China and India, we need to make sure the brightest children among us stay in the United States. And hey, it would help if high school students today to be able to read and understand the Constitution, too.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  106. andyz Lynn, MA

    The failure of Congress to pass legislation making English the official language of the United States is an example of the abysmal depths our congress has sunk. At the rate illegals are sneaking into America don't be surprised if we end up with Spanish as our official language.Hell yes, English should be legislated as our official language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  107. Kat in Tx

    How can you graduate without speaking English?

    Welcome to the United States – our language is English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  108. Sandstone.

    "But of course, Jack! What a question. How are they going to fill in the obvious forms? Why does the country have to spend wasteful time for the few; who object? How are they going to read the obvious on can foods. How are they going to answer questions to the police if pulled-over? etc, etc, etc, etc.,>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  109. Steve Batts Edna, Kansas

    My question is. How does a student get to high school without speaking English. If you want to cut the deficit, is one place to start. You must speak English to graduate high school.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  110. Cal (Maui)

    Yes, this is America, our primary language is English or at least a regional by product of it. If these people plan to live in the U.S.then they need to speak English, In Hawaii we were forbidden in school to speak Hawaiian this was in the Fifties mind you, my parents were forbidden and my grandparents were forbidden to speak any language other than English in school, it was so we could function in a land who's primary language is English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  111. Karl in Flint

    With the continuing decline in the educational level of today’s graduates everywhere, compared to half century ago, thanks to our fear of flunking someone and damaging their fragile ego, the least everyone should have to do to graduate is speak English. I don’t mean just the foreign children who speak other languages but also those born here and raised in finer neighborhoods that still can’t communicate properly. They can tweet and text but don’t actually ask them to talk. DUH!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  112. Steve, New York

    I understand that this has been an isue for the last 20 years. The Republicans wanted all kids to speak English in school and make English as a national formal language of USA. The Democrats were against it. The Democrats stated that another language is sufficuient to be a citizen of this country including Ebonics. Bob Crosby was against it but Rev Jackson was for it. Congress failed, due to the Democrats, to pass a law making English as a national language. There you go even some left wing nut leaders don't understand that this is USA and you should have unity and patrotism. As a result everybody out thetre makes up there rules as they see fit. Another Babylon tower in the making.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  113. Kim Smith

    Absolutely, positively, and with out a doubt.......Yes. And that includes even students who grew up here. The level that todays kids read and write at, not to mention the atrocious grammar, is apalling.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  114. blake

    YES, YES ,YES!!! At least somebody is doing something right in this country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  115. KATO

    YES

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  116. Dan Melbourne

    I'm sorry, I didn't understand the question.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  117. Karen Flowers

    Yes and should happen everywhere in the US.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  118. Scott Perkins

    Speak, write, read....think! Absolutely! All of the above.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  119. joe miszkiel

    Si.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  120. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    They should be required to speak Englishs to enroll.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  121. Pat in Virginia

    Yes, English is our Language, any one who doesn't want to learn English should leave the U.S

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  122. robert

    Yes!!!!! should not even be a question

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  123. Pete

    Learn English to earn a degree. To allow students to move into society without the primary language of the country relegates them to second class citizenship. We owe our students more than that.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  124. Timothy

    Definitely

    May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  125. Chase

    Yes!!! All students in the U.S. should be required to speak English to graduate. If I were to move to a different country, I would fully expect to learn the native language. It should be the same for the U.S. Incoming students and immigrants should learn English, not expect the U.S. to bend over backwards translating everything into 50 different languages.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  126. dave in nashville

    How well does a student in Mexico fare that can't speak Spanish?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  127. Matthew in Atlanta

    This should not even be a question, what country do you think this is!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  128. Matthew Finlay

    YES.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  129. Jack from NH

    English should always have been a requirement! This is America – an English communicating country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  130. Steve

    Yes,Because its the orgin of our nations language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  131. Jeremy D from Michigan

    I think it's absolutely necessary. This is an English speaking country, and students should therefore learn English, not Spanish, etc.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  132. DonnieH. Bay St. Louis, Ms.

    Of course you should be able to speak English in order to graduate. To bad the country didn't have that rule while Sarah Palin was in school...

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  133. Tammy, Montevallo, Alabama

    ABSOLUTELY! If you want to graduate from a public school in the USA then speaking English should be a requirement.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  134. Morgan

    Of course students should know English before graduating high school! I am a freshman in college right now and I have come across so many individuals that do not even understand what their teachers are teaching them. How do you expect the country to get anywhere academically if you don't have to have a common language among the indivudals that live here? Think about it.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  135. Butch F.

    Absolutely! I admire other cultures, but this IS the United States of America, and our language is ENGLISH.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  136. Cooper

    Don't confuse this question with immigrantion or making English the official language of the US. Students across the country are tested by standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT in English. I think this requirement is justified in order to raise the school's standardized test scores.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  137. Jan Kenney

    A resounding "YES". English is the language of our country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  138. Sandy

    Just one comment: YES!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  139. Pamela Mathias

    Absolutely! If they want to come and live in America, they need to learn our language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  140. Eric Hamilton

    I'm shocked that you would possibly graduate from a U.S. high school with out knowing English... Yes... It's about time. Good for Conn...

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  141. Sid Burrell

    Yes, I believe that they should. The United States bends its laws & traditions to conform to immigrants, so I feel that it should be required to speak English & speak it well. I am tired of the U.S. conforming to everyone else but its citizens!!!!! It is time for a change!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  142. Ashley

    You mean you have to speak English to graduate from a high school in an English speaking country o.0 ?
    Come on, is that really too much to ask for?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  143. Bayard Waterbury

    Jack, this is critical in a nation so soft headed that it won't even declare English to be its official language. When I ran my own business, I found that, even law school students showed little English mastery. Just today, I told a young student that her English skills were the most important to master.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  144. terry mcclinton

    This SHOULD be a no brainer!!!
    I am an American and if I were to try and graduate without being able to master the English language..no one would know...no one would care!
    This is so overdue! Good luck Connecticut..here comes trouble!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  145. Rachel

    Yes, absolutely – and going even further, we should finally institute English as our Official Language. We need to do this sooner rather than later.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  146. Dana H. From the Bay Area

    Are you kidding me? You mean English language and writing skills are not a requirement for graduation? No wonder we have so many morons in the US with basic reading and writing skills. I blame Twitter and all the other SMS apps out there where acronyms instead of full words are the norm.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  147. Eve

    Students should be required to speak English before they get into American schools. We should not be using our resources in order to accomodate people who do not adapt to the American way of life, which includes speaking English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  148. RugerNiner

    Si'

    Ron Hollowell
    Lancaster, PA. 17603

    May 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  149. johnb

    American schools should be required to TEACH English as a Second Language effectively. Why punish the children because schools in New Mexico fire teachers for being too successful at teaching the students.
    Ask me how i know. I was a victim of the school administration as were my students victims.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  150. David Post

    DUH! This is the United States of America. Our schools are funded by Americans and our language is English. I assumed one of the purposes of a high school education was to prepare students to become functioning citizens in this country. How is that accomplished if they cannot speak English?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  151. Tim Nicholson

    Yes Jack! Every Student should be bi-lingual with a proficiency in English. In other words, if the Board of Education is going to require immigrating students to be proficient in English, then non-immigrating english speaking students should also be required to become proficient in at least one of the languages spoken by the immigrants! Spanish or Chinese would be the best commercially viable languages that would actually help the graduates in their business careers.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  152. Eric in PA

    Pretty pathetic that this question even has to be asked.
    Obviously – Yes.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  153. John

    Yes, English should be a graduation requirement. Although we have a large Hispanic population, in most areas of the country you are functionally illiterate if you cannot spend English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  154. doris kaplan

    Definitely, U.S. high school graduates should be required to speak and read English. Any other country would impose this requirement, and they would be intolerant of providing an education in a foreign language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  155. jack

    really jack? if they learn to speak english, they will probably take your job, so i know you are not for it....is that english language you are speaking?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  156. Gary Leming

    Absolutely............there is a feeling throughout this country that we are becoming a second class country. Communication is vital for America to prosper. English is the native language, end of story.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  157. Greg W

    Yes, if only to ensure that United States-born, non-foreign students actually know how to speak the only language they know. I'm tired of hearing the English language butchered by so many people that ought to know how to speak it. What's more, I'm tired of ensuring term papers are as grammatically correct as possible, all the while knowing that a professor is willing to accept papers from students who have the writing mastery of a four year old.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  158. Florence Phillips

    Yes, they should have to speak English. This is an English speaking country. If they don't want to learn our language, let them stay in their own speaking country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  159. Louis

    Not only should they speak English in order to graduate, but they should speak English to get into school. I'm Mexican/American I did

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  160. Josh Hopper

    Um........duh! Last time I checked we lived in the United States which speaks ENGLISH. Learn the language or get out. We should stop bowing down to immigrants. Nobody is forcing non-english speaking people to live here. Obey our laws, speak our language, and stop trying to change this country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  161. DonnieH. Bay St. Louis, Ms.

    Que???

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  162. joe miszkiel, Murfreesboro,Tn.

    Si.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  163. Jordan B

    ABSOLUTELY! As a Canadian by birth, I'm glad to see a school district down there avoiding the mistakes my country has made. It's brutal to try and find work in a town where the dominant language has been imported by immigrants!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  164. Gary H. Boyd

    Si senor Jack.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  165. Jubin Jacob

    All immigrants got a chance to come to USA, the least they can do is get their kids to speak English. Who else is supposed to translate for their parents?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  166. Chloe

    Without a doubt the answer is yes. The younger generation's language skills are being determined by the exactitude of the spellcheck tool in computer programs and texting script rather than literary knowledge and practice. Mastering one's own language is key to expressing clearly what we think, and advancing debates that matter to us. This a debate occuring in many other parts of the world, including Quebec, where French is often called a bastion of culture, yet few speak it eloquently, or even correctly for that matter.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  167. Laura

    They should not be allowed to graduate from high school with a diploma if they cannot speak English. If they want to live in the United States speak English or get out.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  168. Patrick

    Yes, of course. Absolutely! Unless we are changing our official national language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  169. Mel

    Yes. We are taught in English, spoken too in English, won't this make it easier?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  170. abby, temple, texas

    I am astounded that this should question would need asking. Of course one should be able to read, write, speak, and understand English fluently to graduate. It should also be a requirement for citizenship. All of my immigrant grandparents came through Ellis Island and all learned English as quickly as possible.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  171. Donna in Fort Wayne

    ABSOLUTELY! Every student in this country should be required to speak and write English. I don't care where they come from. English is the language of this country and it should be required of every person living here.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  172. Nora

    Yes!!!! This is the United States of America, and speaking english should be require given that 96% of the American population is english speaking.

    Nora

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  173. gary duffett

    Of course they should learn / speak English - This is "AMERICA" – the language is "ENGLISH" ----- When people came to America thru Ellis Island, the 1st thing on their "TO DO LIST" was to learn English, then assimilate into the Ameican Way of Life. - If where they came from, and the langauge they spoke there, is so important to them -- they are more than welcome to go back.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  174. Cher

    YES! I would love to see this requirement throughout the US. I also believe that immigrants have command of the language before they are granted permission to stay. I wonder just how much taxpayer money is spent on all of the translation services offered...I hate having to choose what language I want information from my government in...we speak English here and it should be our national language. I don't care what they speak in their own homes, being bilingual is a huge benefit, but government offices should be in English only!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  175. Jody Madaras

    Absolutely! My great-grandfather brought our whole family to America from Hungary in 1911. He insisted the whole family assimilate into American society which included speaking and writing English. He believed in "one nation under God." The family has been tremendously successful because of it! All Americans should follow suit!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  176. Bryan

    Yes they should be required. This is an english speaking country,not any other. Immigrants should all be required to speak this countrys language to fit in, not require our citizens to bend to them. This is definally a great step in the right direction

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  177. J. Richardson

    Yes, Yes, Yes – Connecticut students should absolutely be able to speak English in order to graduate from high school!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  178. Dr.Luzma Umpierre

    Jack, I am a fan of yours from my days in NJ/NYC. This is one of the very few countries that does not realize that we need to foster language learning. To answer your questions, yes but, who is kidding themselves-we are already a bilingual nation. Our children need to learn many languages at a young age for their intellectual development. If don't want to see this from a culture reality look at it from your future SS check that depends on the vast education of Latin@ children and other Minorities. Multilingual education is the future of this nation!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  179. mowalker

    Absolutely. Where are the teachers on this topic? And when did parents who speak a foreign language not want their children learning, extremely well, how to speak, write and use the language of this country.....English?

    I am amazed a question like this would arise.

    At the same time I say the above, I believe our schools are errant in not teaching multiple languages. Few students learn Latin, or Greek, not to mention more current languages. Therefore our students are weak when it comes to jobs, to graduate schools, to being more worldly savvy.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  180. Maryann

    Maybe i'm missing something....but how on earth would one graduate from high school in Connecticut or any US state for that matter, without speaking, reading and writing English?

    Yes, it probably is a good idea to speak English before you graduate from high school. It would certainly be a good skill to have if a job is in your future.
    maryann

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  181. Avery

    Jack, it's either that or everyone will have to learn Russian, German, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, etc....

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  182. Marcy from Margate, Florida

    Jack,
    Get serious. Why would these students need English as a
    second language. With President Obama wanting to make
    all the illegals legal our American students should learn to
    speak Spanish in order to graduate. Yo hablo espanol,
    pero, no muy bueno.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  183. Tim Nicholson

    oops! should be proficient in reading instructions too! City/State for above comment is Wichita, KS

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  184. Jan

    Absolutley YES. We need to be more like Austrialia, you learn their language or you leave. You conform to thier way of life, or you leave.
    It`s time America made a stand on this issue. Americans are the minority in this country. Something is very wrong with this picture. I think all the States should adopt this policy, you bet.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  185. colin mcnicholas-adams

    Of course they should. The only thing that really unites this country is our language, to be successful in the US you need to speak English. I know that if I were to immigrate to another country, I would learn the national language, before i ever moved there.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  186. Jane Barton

    YES! English is America's official language. This should never have come
    into question. My ancestors came directly from Germany. I was never
    taught a word of German because my grandmother said, "we are
    in America, we speak English here."

    May 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  187. Alexander in Boca

    I can't believe that it isn't required?? Don't students study English anymore, what the heck are they learning? What ever happened to the three R's? Reading, riting, and rithmatic!!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  188. Richard C.

    If the student didn't speak English, how did he or she get to the point of being able to graduate? I admire bi-lingual people, but this is the USA so speaking English mus t be a requirement to graduate from high school. The teachers speak English, don't they?
    Malvern, PA.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  189. Bonnie B in NY

    Absolutely! English is the language of the US. Were should not be catering to those that will not learn the English language, but want to graduate or work here in the US. Why should US Citizens that speak the English language feel like they are the aliens in this country?

    May 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  190. Simple Answer

    Of Course!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  191. Kevin, Millersville PA

    As a hispanic male, who is both fluent in english and spanish, I don't see how one can graduate from high school without speaking english. I think that it is a good steap towards helping the hispanic community, or any other immigrant group, become well educated and placed on a path towards success. We live in the United States, and even if english isn't our official language, there is no logical thinking on why the future of the country shouldn't speak it. Education is the way to a prosperous future.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  192. Jeff from West Palm Baech

    Yes they should be required. That is a law way over due. This country has lost site of what language this country spoke for 100's of years. English is required in many none English speaking countries, because they know it's importance in global communications. Yet the United States has seem to forget it. This should be a National Law. Living in South Florida I see how many can't speak English. It's bad when you have 100 employees and only 20 can speak English. I have experienced that.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  193. s l norton

    They are right!!! Everyone should speak English in America. Make this a requirement at the welfare office , DMV etc and see how many problems get better fast.
    I am proimmigration, but that is LEGAL immigration, not illegal immigration.
    There is one big defference between when my relatives came here in 1930's and now ; there was no WELFARE and SSI.

    Mine learned English, worked,participated in government and selective service, educated themselves and did very well. The latest round of illegal immigrants do none of the above.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  194. Linda C

    Absolutely. My mother was a teacher 50 years ago and she had to teach German, Russian, French, Italian, many nationalities to speak English before she could teach them. Those students and their parents were proud to learn the language of their new country. There is no excuse for students who speak other languages to not be proficient in English. I attended school with those students from other countries, and today, all of them are good American citizens.
    If I moved to France/Iraq/Russia, etc., I would absolutely learn their language and become a better citizen.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  195. Lou Kaufman

    That you would even pose this question speaks volumes about what is expected from a citizen of this country. We are becoming the United States of the World. The real question is who will want to live here if social engineering eliminates all that is great and unique to the USA.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  196. Rachel

    I am reading down the comments and keep seeing that people are writing that English is our Official Language – well it's not. Crazy, I know!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  197. heather from Ohio

    I say yes, if we were to travel to another country it would be rude of us to expect everyone there to speak anything but their native tongue so therefore if you are going to go to HIGH SCHOOL here in the U.S. you should be required to speak ENGLISH to graduate

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  198. linda enge

    Yes. Unless we are Native Americans (Indians). Our ancestors all came from foreign countries and to become citizens learned English. It is an honor to live here and those who join us should follow our rules – we should not have to conform to their languages.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  199. liz

    yes

    May 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  200. Lowell in SC

    By all means, YES. If we do not get back to basic common sense then in a few years the schools will be trying to teach in several hundred languages. This is America and if people choose to live here, they should be prepared to speak English . It is not for us to cater to every language in the world!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  201. Matt

    Finally! Its about time that people in our county were required to learn english. We are probably the most accepting country in terms of diversity but its rediculous that a huge portion of the population (legal and illegal alike) cannot speak the native language. I just graduated college and you know what? If i went to study abroad or went to live in a country like Italy I wouldnt expect the locals to adapt and know english. I would expect to have to learn italian and speak in their native language. Its sickening that spanish has become so widespread and acceptable here that almost every item in a store has a translation on it for spanish but if you go abroad everything is in the native language. We havent even declared english the "official" language of the US because were too scared of the immigrant reaction. U know what? In France the language is french, Italy its italian, Spain its spanish. Its about time that America realizes that we speak english here.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  202. Jason Thompson

    We are talking about Academia here, these students are about to enter a world of many languages. It has been in my academic experience that my own teachers didn't speak English. That didn't hold them back from teaching me Chemistry or Math. To call it a requirement is wrong and secular. I encourage these schools to require their students to learn English and offer credits that are applied to their foreign language prerequisites that are required for college entrance. If I speak Spanish and go to school in America, a country where I'm learning English, and I want to go to a University, in high school I need to take a foreign language, so I would need to study, German, or French. Or possibly I could just take Spanish and not learn anything at all. It is wrong for the school district to require it with such rigor, regardless of the quantity of languages on its roster. Figure it out.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  203. Dariel, Santa Rosa, CA.

    Americas first language is English. How many Languages and their dialects should we add?
    Our first priority should be to Americanize the new immigrants coming to AMERICA. And then they can learn a second language, as all students did in the past.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  204. Stephen from FL

    This seems to be a problem unique to the United States and it is just another reason why our public schools are in such a pathetic state. If people want to come to this country to have a better life, then that is fine, but if you can't show enough respect for this country to learn its official language then you shouldn't be here.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  205. Bob Stewart

    Absolutely it should be required. I have Hispanics that take care of the grounds in our community. The ones who speak english are the leaders/managers. Immigrants who came to this country in the early 1900's understood they needed to learn the language to get ahead. There also needs to be the programs available so they can learn English. English needs to be our official language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  206. Kate

    Yes, students should have a comprehensive knowledge of the English language to craduate high school....and college.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  207. Martin Miller

    Jack, the real shame here is that we, as a country, have to even ask this question. Political Correctness will certainly be our downfall.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  208. Wayne Cash - Oklahoma

    I agree with the school district,but give them a real challenge and have them pass a test in their native language also.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  209. David

    It is only common practice for any country to graduate students in their local language, and with the decline of education in the United State of America it is only imperative that graduating high school students must speak and write english.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  210. Andi

    YES!!!! I wish someone could invent a time machine and go back to our founding fathers and get them to declare English as the official language of our country. I applaud those who are bi/multilingual, but if you are going to live here you have to learn the language. Anything else is just laziness.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  211. Cliff McSparran

    It is a cruel joke to lead non-English speakers to think they can fully realize the American dream while not speaking English. They can't. They should cherish and use their preferred languages, but we need all the common ground we can get, and everyone speaking disparate languages is disuniting.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  212. Raine

    Give me a break. Absolutely. I was not only required to speak and write Finnish (my native language) but also Swedish (Finland is bilingual) but I also had to learn English, French and German in high school in Finland in the 60s.
    – Raine

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  213. Diane

    Absolutely! It is not realistic to expect a translator where ever you go. If people move from other countries to America, they should learn the language. If people are not interested in learning English, this is not the right country for them.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  214. Dan in MO

    Absolutely!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  215. Doyle Hughes

    Yes. People who want special treatment should be referred to private schools.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  216. Suzanne in Nebrasksa

    YES. This needs to happen nationwide.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  217. Peter Henry

    I’m an immigrant. I think that its absolutely crazy that someone can graduate from a US school system without being able to speak “English”. We are an English speaking country. And that’s it!!!! Peter, Raleigh, NC

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  218. Ryan

    Speaking English in high schools will not only help students communicate but it will help our teachers teach each individual equally. We are not trying to change any one's heritage and backround but unite each American so future generations can work together "verbally" to help our country build and prosper. It may not seem necessary today, but it will benefit all parties in the upcoming future.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  219. Joanne Dickson

    I agree one hundred percent. It's about time. Where I work alot don't understand English much less read it and guess what. ... I work with chemicals. Isn't that a scary thought. We need to get back to basics in this country instead of cowtailing to the immigrants. Our parents that came over to this country were proud to learn english. Today there is no honor for this country. Shame on the law makers that they didn't do this sooner.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  220. Christian Fauchald

    One would think every child should have to demonstrate sufficient language(& math, etc) capabilities during every year in order to move up to the next level. Whatever happened to flunking students when they didn't perform? Are we just going through the motions in education these days?

    Note to school administrators: if you made sure kids were actually well-educated before graduating, a generation from now – when they're gainfully employed and their children are going to school – your tax base will be much higher!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  221. wb

    Fluency in English should be a pre-requisite to entering high school. Instead of spending money with translators in the classes (which totally distracted my daughter and slowed the classroom progress ie every statement by the teacher was translated to the two non english speaking student in the back of the classroom) use that money for ESL classes for those students. OH U.S., you are a mess!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  222. David

    No matter, Jack. The law will be challenged as being unconstitutional by the ACLU. Somehow, the drain was opened a long time ago and the country continues to disappear into the sewer of political correctness. Speak any language you want. Next measure of excellence will be diminished mediocrity.

    David
    Colorado

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  223. Gayle Cantor

    Absolutely. I think the US spends too much money on translation for exams and books for students that are in another language than English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  224. Sally Gordon

    If a high school teaches its students in English, one assumes a student can't graduate without sufficient knowledge of English. Should the failure of a handful of students to know English translate into yet one more requirement for all schools? No. Schools are burdened enough as it is and there is enough xenophobia already in this country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  225. Comment

    Hello Jack:
    There illegal parents and grandparents do not speak English, matter of fact they refuse to speak English, it goes against their heritage to speak English.

    This is also a fact, if the kid speaks English to a parent or grandparent they get into serious trouble speaking English to them.

    So the kids are in a tug-of-war speak English schools don’t speak English parents and grandparents.

    So my point of view is, school boards and teachers should be investigating why these kids are not speaking English.

    To graduate it should be mandatory to speak good English not Spanglish.

    New Mexico.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  226. Sue

    All students should be required to speak, read, write, and understand American English at each grade level beginning with kindergarten and not just as a high school graduation requirement. Our immigrant parents had to integrate into the educational system and had no choice but to learn the language. And there was no such thing as ESOL.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  227. mark

    Jack, absolutely! Why should we begin to alter our culture to appease those who want be a part of our culture. That's one of the benefits of the U.S., freedom of speech, choice, religion, etc. It's a choice that is made not required of those who move here. So sad to even consider changing. Take care.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  228. Jonathon

    Yes, there are places in Las Vegas where the employees do not not understand English and there are many looking for work who do not understand our language. Language is one of the most unifying factors in a society. If we do not understand each other it is harder to work together and to stand together in regards to any issue.
    Consider what almost happened in Canada because of their debate concerning the use of French.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  229. Brad C

    Absolutely they should know English. If you are going to graduate you need to be able to communicate, and in this country you should know English. If you want to know a secondary language great.. most of the people I work with have English, German, Chinese etc, but when you're in this country our standard way to communicate among the populace is English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  230. Josh

    Though the USA has historically been an English-speaking nation, the Federal Government has not officially declared English as the national language. English is the de facto language but not by de jure.

    Personally, I am ashamed that learning foreign languages is on the back-burner for the majority of Americans. In an increasingly globalized world, we should all be taking steps to be more globalized. People complain about jobs heading overseas, but those markets allow for multiple languages and countries to be serviced.

    That being said if the individual US state has recognized English as the official language, then the state has a right to pass such requirements. Twenty-seven states have such laws, thus it would be acceptable (in my mind) for those states to pass such requirements.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  231. Kimberley

    Absolutely; today’s youth’s are out future and proper effective communication would be extremely beneficial. Being in the age of technology I see every day how the texting, twitter and facebook has enabled our youth’s to take shortcuts and condoned what I call “lazy speech”. It is time to take pride and express our pride in our country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  232. Michael Taylor

    Yes...... It is hard enough to educate our children today with budget cuts and other challenges to our education system. With students coming into the system that can't even speak, read or write English how do you expect our already over worked teachers to get our future work force up to speed so we can compete on a global scale if they can't even understand our language so we can educate them???

    May 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  233. Miriam

    Yes, absolutely! I'm an immigrant from the Philippines and English is my third language. The last time I checked, English was the official language of the United States of America.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  234. xavier thomas

    Yes and no, students should be tested to see how well they speak English and how well they know the English language. If they fail they should be required but if they don't they should not.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  235. Donna Romano

    Yes, proficiency in the English language should be a requirement for a high school diploma. Furthermore, English as an "official language" should be put to referendum. It is difficult to demand that "everyone" living in this country should learn to speak English when we don't actually have an official language. It should be put to a vote. Stick it on the ballot and take the onus off of the politicians. Let the people decide. If it passes, then all of our legal documents, etc. will remain in English only. If it doesn't; we deal with the repercussions.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  236. EZEKIEL IWARIMIE

    yes, english should be studied, read and written by our potential future ambassadors of the nation. This will help reduce the case of affirmative action.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  237. Mary Lou Dove

    Absolutely. If someone wants to live in any country, they should be able to speak the language of that country fluently and clearly. In Sweden immigrants are required to take classes in the Swedish language and then must use that language as part of being a citizen. In America, ENGLISH is OUR language and always has been!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  238. karen

    Great idea! There are too many people in the U.S. as well that speak little to no English. When they need assistance, if they don't speak Hispanic (expecially in certain geographic areas), it is very difficult for them to get the help they need.

    As a retired teacher, I can testify to the many challenges I've faced dealing with parents who can't speak English – and I do not have the resouces to learn the many languages these parents do speak. This is no way to raise your children to be successful in our highly competitive society.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  239. Pete Stanaitis

    Yes, children should have to be proficient in "American English" to graduate from high school. When I was a kid in Rockford Illinois in the late 1940's, we had "displaced person" couples staying with us for a period of time. They ALL wanted to assimilate into the US culture and so, I taught "English" at the kitchen table after school/ work.
    I don't see why today things should be any different. If you don't want to be part of our American culture, then don't come here. And the first way to to do that is to learn to manage the local language. I admit that we are pretty lucky to be an English speaking nation. I say that because English is pretty much the business language of the world currently.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  240. melinda

    They should have to learn English they live in USA. it will also help them better edicate themselves. Maybe their parents should too.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  241. Bamra

    Cmon, why are we even having this discussion. We have to make sure any new generation that "forms" should be passed this cultural gem called language. And we are Americans, English is our language. Ofcourse we should not enforce them to advanced grammar but set strict standards for simple. clean English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  242. Nathan Helm

    It wasn't until I heard the question of whether or not English should be required to graduate that I considered the weight of the issue. Allowing kids to graduate without mastering American English simply punctuates the probelms in our schools. English is commonly a required skill in countries where the it is not the national language; why shouldn't our high schools expect more of the students and the teachers? English should be a minimum standard and this issue should have never become a "national issue".

    May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  243. Stephen Charchuk

    Only required to learn ONE language to graduate? Try Canada where you need to learn TWO languages to graduate. English AND French. Like taxes, and the price of oil, you Americans got it easy again..... [smiles]

    May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  244. Oliver

    Yes, I agree with having English mandatory. Doesn't every other country do the same? If only to help a recent graduate read an application to college or a job, or even a street sign. hmmmm Yup, that would be my pick. Thank you.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  245. B. Bailey

    Yes, Yes, Yes. I believe all high school graduates should graduate high school in ENGLISH here in United States. So tired of having everything printed in two languages.

    Tuscaloosa, Alabama

    May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  246. SK

    Absolutely!!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  247. Dixie

    Oh, Please! Yes!!

    I teach high school freshmen and it's becoming increasingly clear to educators that, without solid English communication skills, students are not prepared to go the distance academically nor professionally....

    And just how is an educator expected to teach (and evaluate) effectively while worrying about crossing the 'politically correct' line ???

    Way to go, New London!!

    Dixie in Pennsylvania

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  248. Priscilla

    I feel all people living in the United States should know how to read and write in English. I resent it when I am asked to push one for English. I also have difficulty understanding broken English as I am elderly and have a hearing problem. I try to be polite and ask to speak to another person. However, our schools should also expect that our students be able to communicate in at least one other language. One question I have is why do the phone messages expect that the second language spoken in our state is Spanish. We are populated by Canadians that came here to work in our factories and in the woods and have tried to speak our language and adjust to our culture. They are wonderful citizens.. No one has given them the courtesy of asking if they would like to have the message in French. Priscilla from Maine

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  249. Dorothy Frances

    Yes. English should be required in high schools. How can teachers help English-speaking students excel when they have to dumb down classes for those who cannot or refuse to speak English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  250. guapo

    A definite yes on the requirement to speak, read and write the english language. One of the first suggestions is take down all the signs in Spanish. All the emmigrants to the USA learned English after arrival until the last 40 years, so why change something that works? We are not a Spanish speaking nation and never have been.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  251. Diane

    ABSOLUTELY!!! I'm a substitute teacher as well as an ESL teacher, in Yonkers NY.
    1- GET RID OF BI-LINGUAL CLASSES!! (and I DO mean to yell.....hence the caps.) If non-English speaking parents cannot count on the public schools to teach their children to English language literacy, who can they depend on?? Also, so called bi-lingual classes cater to only one language group: Spanish. Every other language speaker must learn English through immersion and occasional ESL classes.
    2-Require standard American speech from all personnel who deal directly with the children for more than 5 minutes. (I've heard "English" on some TA's that is more than deplorable!
    3-Also, the problem is frequently just as pervasive with children born inside the US to American parents! One little game I play is called "Lightening Word". I go over the present and past tenses of the verb "to be"; then I divide the kids up into teams. I very quickly call out a pronoun to each team and they must match it with the correct verb form. If nothing else; they leave school that day with some ability to conjugate the basic verb: to be!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  252. Felicia deLucia New Hartford, NY 13413

    ABSOLUTELY! If you don't want to – go back to your country where you'll speak it's language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  253. patricia

    Yes, and the penalty for not learning will be what? Taxpayer provided interpreter for life.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  254. Jesusdude from D.C.

    If you cant speak your nativwe language, then you need therapy!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  255. Jen

    YES, but with that being said I do not mean that as some of the comments that I've seen above such as "if you don't speak English, leave our country." Sheesh, no wonder other countries hate us egotistical Americans.
    I say yes, it should be a requirement, for ALL high schoolers. This is because I believe a High School graduate should be prepared for college, not just a minimum wage job.
    I am a teacher, and my school has students that speak many, many different languages. We are required to modify their grades and as with all students, encouraged to pass them. I personally think that all students should meet the graduation requirements such as English, Math, Science, Fine Arts, Health, etc, but no matter what nationality the student is, or where they come from, the truth is that many students can't properly speak English or do basic math. This is true for the blonde haired blue eyed upper middle class kid as well as the immigrant.
    And any of you parents that are weighing in with a resounding "YES", please remember this when a teacher holds your student accountable for grammatical and spelling errors. "Text lingo" is not and will never be acceptable in an essay. Parents need to stand behind teachers to expect more from our students, rather than call and complain about a grade, scaring administration into pushing teachers to "just pass" a student rather than having the student actually learn and EARN a grade. Please keep that in mind when criticizing schools; it's all about the parents and keeping them happy.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  256. Bamrah from Plainfield, Illinois

    C'mon, why are we even having this discussion. We have to make sure any new generation that "forms" should be passed this cultural gem called language. And we are Americans, English is our language. Ofcourse we should not enforce them to advanced grammar but set strict standards for simple. clean English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  257. bill

    Yes ,all students should be able to speak ,write and read English.
    If they cannot it is the school and the teachers fault. The teachers should be held accountable for the failure .If they can not preform NO DIPLOMAS

    May 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  258. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    It is a tragedy on top of societal collapse that anyone here should ask even the question! I think the FAA requires, or they used to have the requirement to speak english in order to meet the requirements of a pilot's license. Americans will need to be patient as all the values of the american culture are discarded leaving only a digital residue of a great nation.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  259. Ida McCarty

    ABSOLUTELY students in our school system should be able to speak, read and write the English language! And not just to graduate from high school... why not make it a requirement to graduate from grade school? It's wonderful to be bilingual but let's face it, this IS an English speaking country. Some people risk their lives to come in the US to live the American Dream, but it won't happen if they don't speak the language (keep the accent but learn the language).

    May 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  260. Lee in NY

    YES!!! If I went to a non-English speaking country, I would NEVER expect them to make adjustments to their written or verbal communications for me. I would do my best to learn their language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  261. lucinda herbert

    This is an extraordinary country because it offers ESL classes and translators, free of charge, to our public school students and their families. I do not know of any other country that provides it students with this kind of support, regardless of their immigration status. We are doing these young people a disservice if we do not require them to learn to speak, read, and write English fluently before they graduate from high school because their future will be stymied without it - and the hope for a better life is what ultimately propelled them and their families to come to the United States after all.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  262. Karen from Arlington, TX

    Heck yes they should have to know English if they want to graduate. They should have to speak it here, because it is America. If I were to go to their country I should learn their language, but not here, therefore they should speak English here, because I will not learn thier language to speak with them in America.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  263. Andy Mudd

    Since we are an English language country, and since American English is a requirement for citizenship, it stand to reason that it should also be a requirement for High School graduation. It is OUR language so learn it. It SHOULD be required and we should stop teaching in other languages and providing election ballots in different languages. California being the worse or course.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  264. Thom Richer

    It would be wonderful if it were to happen. However, to make it mandatory, required or forced, is un-American if you give any thought to it. After all, wasn't America founded on freedom of choice, individual rights, and acceptance of differences? Or has that become outdated? It seems that in the past two decades, more and more freedoms are slipping away without our recognition with just such Hitleristic tactics. Taxation without representation, double taxation, less and less citizen representation by elected officials, social restrictions, elitism, fear tactics in government, and other insidious means that will eventually lead to loss of freedoms for the many and control by the few. It is happening. Just look at Michigan and Wisconsin and those following their leads. Government without representation, slow erosion of rights, and a growing caste system. Choice. What a wonderful concept to hang on to.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  265. Jason Thompson

    Ultimately, these students need to be learning more important subjects than just English, they can't be distracted by being required to learn 3 languages in 4 years. They need to be introduced to physics, and chemistry, and engineering and law, and so forth. This is where America falls behind.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  266. Christine- Thousand Oaks Ca

    Absolutely...English is our language. We also need to place more emphasis on spelling and grammar for our native borns as well. Just looking at all the misspelled words and bad grammar used by the respondents to your question makes me cringe. The dumbing down of America must be reversed by everyone in this country, not just by those who emigrate here.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  267. lynn clark

    Finally someone has seen the light. What has been called the dumbing down of America begins in the school systems. Seems to me if you live in the United States and your children are attending public schools, they should indeed be required to read, write & spell American English. This needs to be mandatory across the nation.

    America is by the people and for the people. We need to unite together to make our students literate and our communites user friendly. This is not a new problem & has finally been addressesed, albeit by a small community.

    Being from Los Angeles, we are a mixed bag of many ethnic groups here who sometimes can't even communicate to their closest neighbors. This needs to be on our ballots!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  268. David McFarlane

    The question regarding English capability should be: Why would anyone even begin to consider otherwise?

    How could anyone graduate with a diploma of any substance when unable to speak English? How were tests passed? How much cheating did it take to get through the high school program?

    I'm not just speaking of those immigrants who cannot literally speak, write and understand the language due to having never learned it, but also of those who never have come to grips with their mother tongue and are so deficient in it that their future productivity is totally in question, they in turn forced to live to various degrees off the efforts of others, placing an increased financial burden on society.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  269. Lou Harvey

    Only if they are Graduating in the U.S. A
    If you don't want to learn English go home and get you'r degree.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  270. Lane, California

    Yes, but I would take it a step further and say that all high school students should learn a second language, and learn it well, in order to graduate. The world doesn't work around the English language like it used to a hundred years ago; today's students must be proficient in Chinese, French, Japanese, and in the case of my state of California, Spanish and/or Hmong in order to compete with today's business climate. In Europe, it is not uncommon for students to know three or even four languages before their secondary education is complete. We should take seriously consider establishing a mandatory second language requirement, or go all the way and just make English the official language of the United States

    May 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  271. Vanansio Samson/ Lavergne, Tennessee

    No Jack. So long as a student understand and do all required school assignments and pass the test, I don't see why they can not graduate with a high school diploma. After all it is the same test that the English speaking student sat for. Immigrant students might have trouble with pronounciation etc, but some can still do better in English writing.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  272. Howard Drinkwater

    Yes, English should be a requirement for all of our students, furthermore, English should become our national language by law, we have become weak over the years catering to everyone except ourselves, about time we showed some backbone and show the strength we did show 30 and 40 years ago.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  273. darlene

    yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,yes,,,,,,, every single high
    school in the u.s. should be doing this,,, absolutley,,,, need i
    say more!!!!!!

    south bend, indiana

    May 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  274. Elizabeth Allen

    Absolutely!! Anyone moving to our country should learn our language just like we would have to learn their language if we moved to their country. My mother-in-law is an immigrant and she learned English. I wish Congress would declare English our official language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  275. Kelly S

    As an american HS graduate, I think US students should be required to learn how to properly speak and write English. If your going to live, work, and thrive here then you need to know the language, plain and simple.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  276. Chuck & Jean

    YES! You're living in America so speak, read and write English or just leave.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  277. Brooke Breeze

    This is an outrage to me! I am an ESL teacher. These students have absolutely no control over where they are living or going to school, they are simply here with their families trying to pursue the American Dream for a better education. All this policy will do is create dropouts that will be less productive citizens! Many of these children were probably born in the US and are therefore US citizens so it seems to me that their rights to an equal educational opportunity are somehow being infringed upon to me. Adults please stop imposing your small mindedness on the youth of America that have no choice over where they are living!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  278. Sean in Michigan

    Absolutely. Although it's great to celebrate and embrace diversity, this is an primarily english-speaking country. If we insist that teachers learn other languages to teach how does that help the child in a future career. Is a corporation going to insist that everyone learn the language for the new CEO? Is the court going to insist that the judge and jury know other languages or hire a translator for the non-english speaking lawyer?
    The best chance for these children's success is to learn the language. We can't expect everyone to accomodate them in their careers if they aren't willing to learn the predominant language.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  279. Mali

    Unconditionally, Yes!!!!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  280. R. Hale

    Every high school in the United States should require graduating seniors to speak, read and write English fluently, or else the school should not allow them to graduate until they pass the English tests.

    In fact, EVERYONE who wants to live in the United States should be required to know the English language before they can obtain a driver's license and vote. My great-great grandparents had to learn English when they came to the United States. It was one of the main ways to assimilate people into the American way of life, and into the American culture.

    Speak your native language at home if you wish, but speak English outside the home, and teach your children English. This is America. We speak English here.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  281. Chuck & Jean

    YES! You're living in America so speak, read and write English or kindly leave.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  282. david buffington

    Of course graduates of US schools should be proficient in English. If for no other reason than for their own good. Being able to us English well will be so important for them in their future. Good for New London, Connecticut, a wise and prudent policy.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  283. Reid

    If you can't speak English you aren't learning anything in high school anyway. It isn't like the schools have translators standing by, and back when I was there, that's what the teachers spoke.

    Its the same as requiring you to learn math before you graduate.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  284. David

    U.S. high schools shouls require everyone to speak two languages. English should be one of them. Any other legitimate language should count as the second.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  285. R. Hale, San Francisco, CA

    Every high school in the United States should require graduating seniors to speak, read and write English fluently, or else the school should not allow them to graduate until they pass the English tests.

    In fact, EVERYONE who wants to live in the United States should be required to know the English language before they can obtain a driver's license and vote. My great-great grandparents had to learn English when they came to the United States. It was one of the main ways to assimilate people into the American way of life, and into the American culture.

    Speak your native language at home if you wish, but speak English outside the home, and teach your children English. This is America. We speak English here.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  286. Peter Waterman

    YES, and proof of legal status as well. Peter in VT

    May 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  287. Ralph Spyer

    we should all learn how to speak spanish

    May 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  288. Wendy, MT.

    Sorry to get on my soapbox but this has been one of my pet peeves for years; we natives have had to. It really bothers me that citizens in some parts of this country cannot be employed unless they know Spanish. I would not go to China & expect them to know English.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  289. Reid

    Also, the Supreme Court has held in the past that there is no fundamental right to education. You'd be hard pressed to convince them that requiring people to learn English in school to get a diploma somehow violates the Constitution.

    Fact of the matter is that I love having immigrants in this country – its a nation of immigrants – but we didn't force everyone to learn Italian or German or French. Immigrants have to assimilate to our society and learn our language; that's the way it has always been and that is the way it should always be.

    Washington, DC

    May 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  290. Mark

    Hey, I had to learn Spanish. They better freakin learn English!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  291. Isabella in Las Vegas

    Absolutely!

    I can't believe that this is an issue. If I decided to live in another country, it would be my first priority to learn their language. This is the United States of America and we speak English.

    Live it. Love it. Learn it.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  292. Scott in Boston

    Jack, given the demographic changes that are happening in the United States and what lies ahead in the next decade, I would say everyone should have to prove their competency in England AND in Spanish.

    That goes for college and not-college bound students!

    May 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  293. Julie Arnold

    Absolutely!
    If we moved to another country, it would be expected that we learn the language to get an education.
    As immigrants, all students should be immersed in all day English classes for as long as it takes to become somewhat fluent in speaking, reading and understanding English at their grade level. Then they should be placed in the public school system.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  294. Mary Steele Yorktown VA

    If our country has gotten so bad that we are graduating kids that can't even speak English, it's past-time to mandate English as our official language. You either speak, read and write English or go back where you came from!!

    It is absolutely ridiculous to have our information in multiple languages, you assimilate or go back where you came from!

    Yorktown VA

    May 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  295. Dave Indiana

    Yes!
    Especially since It IS the spoken language in our country.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm |