The Metro Nashville Public School Board was scheduled to decide Tuesday night whether to arrange for high school students to learn Kurdish, according to Nashville Public Radio.
According to the station, schools would add this to its list of world language curriculum for high school credit.
Metro officials want to do this because of Nashville’s sizable Kurdish community. Nashville Public Radio did not say precisely how many Kurdish people live in Nashville. But the station did say there are more than 1,100 students from that community attending Nashville’s public schools and that many live in South Nashville.
Educators are on board with the proposed plan because “they believe it will boost students’ academic performance.”
“Research has shown that when a student is literate in his or her own native language, it helps them become literate in a new language faster, such as English,” the station quoted Jill Petty as saying.
Petty manages literacy and world languages for Metro schools, Nashville Public Radio reported.
“That would actually help them in the long run,” Petty reportedly told the station.
Nashville Public Radio then quoted Nawzad Hawrami, who directs the Salahadeen Center, which caters to the growing number of Kurds in the area, who relocated to Nashville fewer than 10 years ago.
“Hawrami has been a leading proponent of offering Kurdish in Nashville schools. He says he’s heard many Kurds say they want more ways to preserve their language, so last summer, he asked Nashville school board member Will Pinkston if Kurdish could be taught in public schools,” according to the station.
“If the board passes the proposal, it will go to the state for approval. After that, individual schools will each assess whether they have enough students interested to offer the class. Petty says the language would likely be phased in to high schools over about three years,” the station reported.
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