Approved bill gives students foreign language credit for sign language courses

The Tennessee Legislature has passed a measure that allows high school students to take American Sign Language and get credit for their foreign language requirements, just as they would for Spanish or French,.

From a brief report by the AP.

Senator Becky Massey, a Republican from Knoxville who sponsored the Senate Bill (SB524), said Tennessee passed a law allowing kids to take ASL for credit back in the early `90s. But Massey said lawmakers never made sure it got implemented. She said the new bill assures that it will.

…Russell Rosen, an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York, said more than 40 states have passed similar measures.

Note: The bill was sponsored by Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville, in the House. It was approved unanimously in both chambers.

News release from Rep. Roger Kane

(NASHVILLE) — This week, Republican lawmakers passed legislation sponsored by State Representative Roger Kane (R-Knoxville) that allows American Sign Language to be used to satisfy foreign language requirements in Tennessee high schools.

House Bill 462, also known as the American Sign Language Bill, was initiated by Molly Ridgeway, a nonverbal student at Maryville College, and her boyfriend Joshua Anderson. It allows any high school student who enrolls in an American Sign Language course to use the credit they earn to satisfy foreign language requirements needed for graduation. Currently, more than 180 U.S. colleges and universities accept American Sign Language as a foreign language credit from incoming high school graduates.

“This legislation fulfills a long-standing promise that we as lawmakers made to members of the nonverbal community almost 30 years ago,” said Chairman Kane. “It also improves communication between verbal and nonverbal Tennesseans and could lead to job growth for future nonverbal educators.”

…Roger Kane serves as the Chairman of the House Education Instruction & Programs Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Education Instruction & Programs Committee, as well as the House Education Administration & Planning Committee. Kane lives in Knoxville and represents House District 89, which includes part of Knox County.


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