"Last week the plight of Latin was causing its teachers to wail. U.S. Office of Education figures show that only 7.8% of all public senior high pupils were studying the ancient language of the Romans in 1949 (the last year for which national statistics are available). Latin has dropped from second to 18th place in public high curricula - behind English, P.E., music algebra and a host of subjects from bookkeeping to home economics."
It happened this way:
• When the Great Depression hit many colleges dropped Latin as an entry requirement to widen the applicant pool; this triggered numerous high schools to drop Latin in turn, which then lead to the nation's middle school to do the same.
• During this same period American foreign policy sought a closer relationship with South America which resulted in a boom is Spanish classes.
• The Second World War, being the first high-tech war, generated an enormous interest in math and science (which grew to an even greater degree decades later with the space race).
The hardy souls who run the National K-16 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey roughly estimate that there are only 210,000 students studying Latin in the United States today.
- from Amazon: