For reference see the article "Schools drop one mandatory foreign language course" by Megan Almon from the Valentine's Day 2008 edition of The Times-Herald of Newnan.
Not only does Georgia want to safeguard the state's status in the lowest tier of the Union for educational rankings (see page two of this GBPI publication), but the county where I teach apparently aspires to descend its rank to the least successful of 159 counties for its high school students. Four years of progress made through an effective middle school program articulated through a required third level of study in high school are erased as readily as a misplaced jot or tittle. My disdain and disgust are potentially limitless. Ms. Almon's "thanks to" captures the local mentality and attitude with regard to participation in the world at large better than I could ever describe.
While in the short term I may see a sudden increase in art classes supplementing my teaching schedule, my own advocacy of language study will not waiver. As my father might say, "keep pluggin'." When I came to my school, there were not three full classes of French, and my schedule was replete with such academic equivocations as Freshman Focus and SAT Prep. This year, there are EIGHT sections of French with levels I, II, III, IV & V. I gained a colleague in "my department" and was able to extend my experience into visual arts. This may be only a temporary trend toward linguistic decline, but as long as I breathe (which is sometimes its own challenge), there will be French in Coweta!
Just why does language matter to me? Read this article at the University of Tennessee Martin. It summarizes already and more effectively what I might write on the subject of language education and provides links to related research and bibliographies.
Hé, l'Amérique, le plus grand des lièvres, réveillez-vous alors!
Que le monde entier soit plurilingue!