Is Arabic taught in American high schools?
It's not one of the commonly available languages. However, some schools have roundabout setups where if you want to learn it, you can. My school was one of these.
There were only two languages offered at my "regular" high school - French and Spanish. However, if you were an honors student, you could access a "special" high school in the afternoon. This "special" high school had honors students in it from five different high schools, so they offered a lot of more obscure advanced classes that wouldn't have high enough enrollment at the regular high school. Things like AP Environmental Science, Military History, and whatever.
This school offered Japanese and Russian. I studied Japanese here.
But if there was another language that you wanted to take that was not offered, if you were an honors student you could go to the local community college. Arabic was offered here.
However, as you can see, you would have to go through a lot of hoops to take it. You would have to be an honors student and then do a lot of legwork between the high school and the community college in order to ensure that grades got reported and the credits were registered and whatnot. Plus, you would need a car or some kind of independent transportation to get to the community college, and probably take the class at non-standard high school hours, which would inhibit extra curricular activities. I didn't know anybody who did it.
I would say that the most common languages you will come across in an average US high school are Spanish, French, and German. Sometimes Latin, if the school is big enough.
As of now? No, not widely. In the future? Perhaps. Due to Arabic's growing importance in the American foreign policy, we might see Arabic become increasingly more popular in American high schools over the next decade. However, there will probably be a shortage of faculty that can teach Arabic at the high school level as there has never been a significant population in the United States that can speak Arabic unlike the speaking populations of Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
At the university level, courses in Chinese, Russian, and Japanese have seen surges in popularity since the 1980s and 1990s. More recently, universities have been forming departments dedicated to Arabic and Middle Eastern cultural studies. With this in mind, Arabic will likely live on and potentially flourish at universities while remain weak at the high school level.
I can say it is taught in at least one high school, because I teach it! To be honest, it's kind of rare. Foreign languages are seeing a decline in students and a lot of high schools only offer Spanish and maybe one other language that is popular in the area. Arabic is taught here and there though. It's popular with some students because it's a little different than what everyone else is taking. One of the problems though is that there are not many trained and certified Arabic teachers and there are not a lot of textbooks and materials geared towards high school students.
I went to school in the suburbs of Philly. I was able to take German, French, Italian and Spanish. When I was a junior I was offered the chance to take language classes done in conjunction with the local community college. Russian, Japanese, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese were offered then. You also had to have achieved a certain grade in your first two years of whichever language(B+ or higher I believe). I took Russian and Arabic and I struggled as an honors student.
I don't think as many schools offer these languages because you have to be taught how to write using something other than latin characters and funny punctuation I.e. Ç, ß, ü, ñ.
Arabic is a fringe language in the United States to begin with, add to that the relatively weak ties that America has with the Arab world and the political complications associated with teaching it, and the answer is no - it is not widely taught.
Interestingly, Arabic is one of the four most widely spoken languages in the world - which suggests it should have a place in American curricula.
There are pockets of it being taught in the US Public Education system.
It was one of the languages I wanted to learn when I was in high school, but wasn't one of the languages offered (only French and Spanish).
Considering the increasing number of Arabic speaking immigrants, we should have more people learning the languages. The more we understand other languages, the better we can understand the cultures, and the less confusion we have between each other.