Birmingham, Michigan, Public Schools May Lose Foreign Language Requirement

What a terrible idea to eliminate the foreign language requirement in high school! What are these officials thinking?!

Art Aisner in Birmingham Patch, May 15, 2013:

Hoping to free up more options for students when it comes to high school electives, the House Education Committee recently approved two bills in Lansing that would eliminate the foreign language requirement for graduation.

The Birmingham Public Schools requires two high school credits of foreign languages, where one of those can be earned at middle school, said district spokeswoman Marcia Wilkinson.

The district also notes foreign languages as an important aspect to any college admission process in its College and Career Planning Guide, according to the district website. The competitive, highly-competitive and most-competitive college admissions screeners require two years or more.

The World Language Department of Birmingham Public Schools offers German, French, Japanese, and Spanish with a mission to enable graduates to participate more fully in the global economy and job market.

By eliminating the two-year foreign language requirement, the proposal hopes to give students not headed to college more vocational options in school, but the Michigan Department of Education opposes the bill, according to the Detroit News.

“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 in the report. “World languages is essential for all of our students.”

House Bills 4465-4466 would also modify required credits in physical education, the arts, career and technical education, science and math, according to the Livingston Daily Press & Argus.

The bill awaits a full house vote.

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