How Important Are Foreign Language Classes?



March 13, 2014

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

The Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) has probably the very best program in the State of California to teach elementary students Japanese. When many of us were in school the foreign language options became available in the second half of the eighth grade when, in my case, the Los Angeles Unified School District took a year of Spanish and stretched it over 18 months. George Washington high school had a fantastic program with Latin, German, Spanish and possibly French available to the students.

In today’s job market are any of those languages truly necessary in using our limited resources? Many, many years ago Latin, for example, was required for those who wanted a future in medicine. It seems to me the past almost mandated that CCUSD drop some languages in favor of Japanese. I just wonder, if we contacted the graduates of Japanese, how many would we see using that language in their current profession?


As such, because of the limited advancement possibilities I suggest we phase out or greatly reduce Japanese and instead substitute Chinese. I’ll leave this suggestion to Superintendent LaRose and his staff to work out the details and time frame.

I checked with CCUSD and was told our district has never hired and doesn’t plan to hire the GEO Listening Company of Hermosa Beach to have their computer scour public posts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and read postings by high school and middle school students. Some administrators feel this program would stop cyberbullying, and the students feel it would negatively affect their free speech.

Can I please get a five minute recess while Maria AKA “the wild Gypsy lady” assumes her position in the middle of the street directly in front of police headquarters? I want to hear three very loud cheers for Chief Pedersen’s effort to reduce crime in our city.

As you may recall, this column was one of the first to ask for Lee Baca to depart as the Los Angeles County Sheriff, and I was hoping Chief Pedersen would run in the election later this year. There have only been four Los Angeles County Sheriffs since we moved here in 1949 and you just know there are no term limits. Chief Pedersen told me he would not run so I’m backing the best candidate: Todd Rogers, whose website is . Just remember, in life you need a good doctor, a good pharmacist, a good car mechanic and a good crime prevention system. I’ll be telling you more as the election nears. Oh, for those like myself who don’t have a computer, his telephone number is (424) 219-2073.

Here in California, for every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 85 cents.

Did you know Los Angeles 90011 is the second most populated zip code in the United States, with approximately 108,000 residents?

Can I whisper in your ear? The red-light camera at Whittier and Wilshire brings the city of Beverly Hills about $116,482 per month in fines. Last year the Photo Red Light Program issued 16.800 citations to motorists. Beverly Hills collects about $111 from each citation and pays Redflex Traffic Solutions, Inc. $52,380 a month. You just know I have a public documents request in to city hall regarding this matter. When city hall gives me the data I’ll pass it on. Is the city of Culver City trying desperately to keep this a deep, dark secret, that they would rather be out of compliance with California state law than to tell us the facts?

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in that website's search box.


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