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World War I—Removing German from Schools

The "enemy language" was removed from the grade schools or the entire school system in [many cities including] Indianapolis. . . . The Indiana State Teachers' Association even advocated the elimination of all foreign languages from the elementary schools, and after the passage of the McCray bill by the legislature in 1919, it became unlawful to teach German in public, private, or parochial schools. . . . By the time the bill passed, only a few schools were still using German, since the language had, understandably, become quite unpopular among the students, and social pressure had forced many of the schools to oust the language even though they preferred to continue its use. . . . The lifting of the ban in 1923 by the state legislature did not result in German regaining its pre-war number one position among the foreign languages taught in the state. It has been [in] a modest third place ever since, behind Spanish and French.

 


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Updated: 27 April 2004, RKB
Comments: speccoll@iupui.edu
URL: http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/special/digproj/circle/schools.html

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