Latin is a fundamental subject in a classical school because roughly 60% of English words have Latin roots.
Other reasons include that it trains students to think in a logical and orderly manner, improves a student’s ability to process large amounts of information, improves English grammar, and increases the ability to learn other Romance languages such as Spanish or French. Data from the Duval County Public School’s ELL webpage stated that 55.2% of current Duval ELL students in the public school system speak Spanish, one of the romance languages derived from Latin.
Ryan Sellers said it best in his The Value of Latin Ted Talk. He spoke at the Rose Theatre at the University of Memphis on August 27, 2016.
Ryan was describing how the fundamentals in education are important, Latin being one of those. He explained, “One of the most effective ways of building strong fundamentals in students and preparing them for the future, ironically enough, is by looking to the past through the teaching of Latin.
Latin will help students to think more logically, communicate more effectively, and have a more comprehensive understanding of the world around them, no matter how technologically advanced we’ve become.”
He goes on to explain that Latin is not a dead language, just a language that has evolved into other languages such as French, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Classical Latin is still alive today in government, art, religion, medicine, law and science. Classically taught individuals are prepared to be leaders and Ryan, gave the following examples of individuals who went on to achieve success in a wide variety of areas outside of law and medicine: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; CNN founder, Ted Turner; Nobel Prize winner in literature, Toni Morrison; and author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling; former president, Bill Clinton; British politician, Boris Johnson and former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice along with
NFL football quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Robert Griffin III were all classically taught.
The central position of language in the curriculum continues throughout the elementary
and middle school grades. In fourth and fifth grade, students will learn Latin roots of
English words. In sixth and seventh grade, students begin learning formal Latin, and will
continue with Latin through ninth grade. Latin is introduced and taught alongside English so that students learn the structural underpinnings of their own language, expand their vocabulary, and improve their reading comprehension.