Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Only 20% of American K-12 students learn a foreign language, compared to a median of 92% of students from European countries, according to a study by Pew Research.

Expand chart
Data: Eurostat, American Councils for International Education; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: "Our history has been that you can work, play and live your whole life and often not run into anyone who speaks another language and not have a need to know another language," Marty Abbott, executive director for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, told Axios.

  • But with the expansion of international business and the world being more connected through technology, "it's a whole other world," she said.

The big picture: Most Americans don't see practical value in learning a second language.

  • Only 36% of Americans think knowing a second language is very important for success in the workplace, according to a 2016 Pew survey.
  • Yes, but: A survey coming out next month from ACTFL shows an overwhelming number of U.S. business have need of multilingual employees, but have had difficulty finding them.
  • And relying on an interpreter or translator isn't always enough, according to Abbot, "business often doesn’t get done at the business table, it's done in social situations and side events."
We’re just naive right now in thinking that the rest of the world speaks English.
— Marty Abbot

How we got here: There are geographical, governmental and cultural reasons behind the gap in language learning between the U.S. and European nations. Geographically, most Europeans live closer to another country where a foreign language is spoken than Americans — despite Mexico and Canada at our borders.

  • Most European nations have national requirements for students to learn at least one foreign language — and sometimes two, such as in Austria, Norway and France.
  • And most foreign language learning begins by the age of 9 in Europe, according to Pew Research. The U.S. has no such requirements.
  • Americans "tend to have a mindset that they’re not good at languages," Abbot said, something she believes can be solved by making it a normal part of education and starting younger. Learning a foreign language is often seen as an academic pursuit, she said, with the focus on learning a lot about a language but not always how to practically communicate.

Go deeper: 10 ways America is falling behind

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: Covid forever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was 563 days ago that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by healthcare reporter Caitlin Owens, looks at our Covid future.

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccine mandate for school employees, days before it was set to take effect, AP reports.

Driving the news: The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.