If you haven't heard, there has been a lot of hullabaloo over House Bill 5 in the Texas legislature which was written to redefine what Texas high school students' graduation requirements would be for the freshman class of 2014-2015.
Here are the most concerning elements of HB5 as it pertains to LOTE or Languages Other Than English:
- In the Foundations High School Program (basic graduation requirements) under special circumstances students who seem unlikely to be successful in the second year of LOTE can fulfill the second required credit of LOTE by taking a computer science course, a world history/world geography elective or another level 1 language course rather than taking 2 consecutive years of one language for those .
- Two credits of computer science can count for two years of LOTE
This should be concerning to all world language educators in Texas, but around the country, too. If we don't voice our concerns to the law makers our field can very easily be marginalized and the need for world language teachers will of course decrease.
As of yesterday HB5 was passed and it is now the second LOTE credit can be a world history or geography credit, another first year language or computer programming.
What a discouraging decision in light of all that world language classes give students.
If you are a Texas world language teacher/educator, please get involved. Write your state legislators and ask them to nullify this decision. Spread the word and let other world language teachers you know hear about this decision. It is not too late to let the state board hear your thoughts and concerns about this matter.
If you are not from Texas, but are a world language educator, learn from us in Texas. Do not be idle or uninformed. It could be to your serious detriment.