Feb 8 2011
DFW CBS — Some Students at Mansfield ISD schools could soon be learning Arabic as a required language. The school district wants students at select schools to take Arabic language and culture classes as part of a federally funded grant. And not just language and culture, the grant also funds the teaching of Islamic (Sharia) government, art, traditions and history as part of the curriculum.
The Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant was awarded to Mansfield ISD last summer by the U.S. Department of Education. As part of the five-year $1.3 million grant, Arabic classes would be mandatory at Cross Timbers Intermediate School and Kenneth Davis Elementary School. The program would also be optional for students at T. A. Howard Middle School and Summit High School.
Parents at Cross Timbers say they were caught off-guard by the program, and were surprised the district only told them about it in a meeting Monday night between parents and Mansfield ISD Superintendent Bob Morrison.
The DOE has identified Arabic as a ‘language of the future.’ But parent Joseph Balson was frustrated by the past. “Why are we just now finding out about it?” asked Balson. “It’s them (Mansfield ISD) applying for the grant, getting it approved and them now saying they’ll go back and change it only when they were caught trying to implement this plan without parents knowing about it.”