My Arabic is horrible. I studied literary Arabic from seventh to tenth grade, as do most Israelis, and I was always bad at it. I felt that I didn't need to know the language. Boy, was I wrong. I took a spoken Arabic class in college and improved my language skills a bit, but lost most of what I learned because I didn't practice enough.
Arabic usually isn't taught in American schools. A school district in Texas has made the wise decision to change that and teach Texans Arabic. Parents are angry, saying that Arabic is equal to teaching Islam. That's just stupid and ignorant. First of all, teaching about Islam along with the Arabic language would not be a bad idea at all, and would not amount to proselytization, ifdone right. Secondly, this specific program focuses only on language and culture, not religion. This is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and the more Americans know Arabic, the more the United States can engage the Arab world in the civil and public sphere.
Other than English, the three most important languages in the world are Spanish, Arabic and Chinese. People need to start learning them at as early an age as possible.