LANSING (AP) – Foreign language studies could be de-emphasized in Michigan under a bill that would drop it as a high school graduation requirement.
Supporters of the change say it would offer more flexibility for students who plan to bypass college for a technical career, The Detroit News reported Monday.
The bill sponsored by state Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac, would allow students to meet Algebra 2 and foreign language requirements by including computer science instead. The bill is expected to be considered this year by the House Education Committee.
“Rep. Potvin continues to fully support the role that foreign language can play in the education of our students,” said Jamie Callahan, Potvin’s legislative director. “Many students in Michigan are looking to enter the skilled trades fields instead of going to college.
“Expanding ways to accomplish a student’s educational plan through greater flexibility in the graduation requirements will better prepare them for the next step in their journey.”
The Michigan Department of Education opposes the bill.
“Students, regardless of post-secondary plans, will benefit tremendously with at least one additional language to be competitive in the global marketplace,” spokesman Martin Ackley said.
Currently, students must take foreign language in grades nine through 12 to graduate. Starting with students who entered third grade in 2006, foreign language study counts in grades kindergarten through eight.
The possible change comes as some schools in Michigan offer a focus on bilingual education. Detroit Public Schools, for example, offers a program at the Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School. Its roughly 660 students learn Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and French.
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