U.S. Department of Education officials are in Fayette County Thursday as part of a national back-to-school bus tour called “Education Drives America.”
Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller is visiting Picadome Elementary School to discuss ways to improve foreign language learning in schools.
In Fayette County around 60 percent of their public schools offer some kind of foreign language program, said Thomas Sauer, Fayette County Public Schools world language specialist.
Sauer formerly held the same position in Jefferson County Public Schools up until last year.
In JCPS the amount of schools offering a foreign language program is closer to the national average of 15 percent, but the district lacks programs in middle schools, said Sauer.
“That’s the bigger problem in Jefferson County. They hardly have any middle school programs, whereas in Fayette County 100 percent of all middle schools have a language program,” he said.
Fayette County is unique because the school board decided last year to fund nearly $1 million for its foreign language initiative, said Sauer.
“I think that’s rather unique that in 2012 a school district would decide to somehow rearrange their budget to fund world language teachers,” he said.
Jefferson County has not yet replaced Sauer’s world language specialist position but Superintendent Donna Hargens recently told WFPL the position will be filled.