published Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

A 'rigorous' outlook

The Chattanooga area, and the state of Tennessee overall, are a great showcase of the global community that is expanding business to include this region and our tremendous resources.

Competition in the business world no longer stops at your county. Every business is touched by markets from every direction of the compass rose.

One of Italy's leading universities has announced a plan to "kit out its students with the right stuff to gain access to the global jobs market," a Reuters story from Milan reported.

Politecnico di Milano, a 149-year-old university established in Milan, Italy's business capital, will kick off its 2014 academic year teaching all its graduate courses in English. It will be the nation's first institution of higher learning to do so and will join Italy's "most prestigious business school, Bocconi" that began offering undergraduate classes in English in 2001.

"We need to prepare all our graduates for a professional world that demands a rigorous international outlook," Politecnico rector Giovanni Azzone noted of his university's transition.

This trend in the global community was summed up by Fulvio Ortu, the dean of international affairs at Bocconi: "The lingua franca for business is English and you need to know it."

Ortu continued, "Our students are very active on international markets and demand an international environment."

The question now must be asked: If English is being taught in prestigious institutions of higher learning as the priority language in business in Italy, Germany, France, England, Iceland and throughout the globe, why is the United States so shackled by the politically correct activists who oppose English as the official language in the classroom, in our government, and our nation?

The 2000 Census recorded that 8.1 percent, or 23.1 million people, reported speaking English with difficulty in a basic conversation or "less than very well." The 2010 Census demonstrated an increase of the same measurement to 25 million, or 8.7 percent of the population surveyed.

In a May 16 article for us-english.org, Mauro Mujica, CEO and board chairman of U.S. English, stated, "China, France, Africa, the Middle East and countries in the Asia-Pacific region all consider English the language of success when interacting with foreign countries in a business environment.

"Yet in the United States, we are still providing foreign language translations and preventing American citizens from reaching their fullest potential, rather than encouraging them to learn English."

Mujica is a native of Chile who immigrated to America.

Tennessee is one of 31 states with laws noting English to be the official language. Yet, the seemingly endless efforts to court and patronize those deemed "non-English speaking" are seen in our government services, phone greetings recorded to select a prompt for translation, and for educational funding to teach English as a Second Language.

Are we actually leveraging a benefit of our country to its fullest advantage? In fear of being labeled racist, isolationist or xenophobic, are we preventing many in our schools from complete access to a world of equal opportunity in business and this "rigorous international outlook?"

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