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WP: Many in State Dept. Can't Talk the Talk

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kskiska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 09:55 PM
Original message
WP: Many in State Dept. Can't Talk the Talk
Lack of Proficiency in Languages Assailed

Nearly 30 percent of State Department employees based overseas in "language-designated positions" are failing to speak and write the local language well enough to meet required levels, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

"We have a shortage of people with language skills in posts that need them," said John Brummet, assistant director for international affairs and trade at the GAO. "If people do not have the proper language skills, it is difficult to influence the people and government and to understand what they are thinking. It just doesn't get the job done."

Languages described as "superhard" by the report are proving particularly difficult. Four out of 10 workers in posts requiring Arabic, Chinese and Japanese fail to meet the requirements.

The levels are even higher in some critical postings. Sixty percent of State Department personnel in Sanaa, Yemen, and 59 percent in Cairo do not meet language requirements, the report said.

more
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Here's an idea.. Why not find some smart people who KNOW the language
and HIRE THEM instead of handing out those jobs like party favors at a kids' birthday party?

Why not make them take tests to know how proficient they are?

How about recruiting expats who actually already LIVE there and understand the customs also?

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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. like the gays they kicked out of the military
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bigworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
2. Superhard?
Who wrote this report, like, a 14 year old?
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spindrifter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. I hate to admit it, but it
seems that we have let foreign language study die a slow and little-notice death. Not only do we tend not to place a value on language learning, we deride the abilities of those who bring a different language when they immigrate and insist that English needs to be our official language.
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. Maybe the state department could go hire all of the Gay
language specialist that they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars training and then kicked them out of the military for being gay. Maybe they could do the job they trained for.....

Wait that's just to easy....they would never do it!

Fucking idiots!!!
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chascaz Donating Member (181 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. I think this has to do more with dumbya's crony appointments ...
to ambassadorships and consolates. When he took over in 2000, they eliminated alot of positions at embassies, such as the Science Officers. They basically turned our state dept into a front man for corporations to "deal" in foreign countries, and now the only business that goes on at our embassies is all about USAID, and making our state dept into a giant "economic hit-man".

In Uganda, they were making great progress in the fight against AIDS, until dumbya came along. They once recieved funding for their "ABC" program - Abstinence, Be faithful, and use Condoms - but now aids is on the rise again because dumbya's state dept. changed the rules so that no funding goes to anyone who doesn't preach abstinence ONLY.

So I do believe there are plenty of (willing) Americans who can speak foreign languages, but they aren't going to be getting a job in dumbya's state dept, since they aren't cronied enough.

Peace - :)
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