Douglas E. Moore, membre de Conseil municipal, a repondu hier a Felimination des langues etrangeres dans les ecoles publiques avec une lettre au sujet de l'importance de ces programmes dans les classes.

If you can't understand that, you're probably as puzzled as D.C. School Supt. Vincent Reed was yesterday when D.C. City Council member Moore handed Reed a letter - in French - criticizing cuts in foreign language programs in the city's public elementary schools.

"In my opinion, the elimination of these languages from the program is just another manner of retarding the progress of our children," Moore wrote. "I hope that you realize in reading this letter the importance of foreign languages in the schools."

Reed said later that he did realize that, but not from reading Moore's letter, "I didn't understand the point," Reed said. "I'm concerned about foreign language and I want foreign languages in the schools, too. But in high school and college, I took Spanish."

When D.C. public schools opened earlier this month, 19 of the 32 foreign-language teachers in elementary classes received layoff notices. Over the past several years, enrollment in the city's public schools has been declining, and with it, the number of teaching positions.

The foreign language cuts - which did not affect janior and senior high schools - were made as part of an effort to eliminate less essential positions. Some of the teachers have since been rehired, Reed said yesterday, but none as elementary school foreign language instructors.

Reed said yesterday he does not plan to respond to Moore in either Spanish or English.