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Early Childhood Foreign Language Proposal Stalls

Foreign languages will continue to be required for early education in Wyoming, at least for the time being.

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A proposal has stalled to end a state law passed in 1999 that requires schools to teach early foreign language.

“Well currently, the state of Wyoming is requiring the districts to perform early childhood foreign language. And, it’s an unfunded mandate, people need to understand that it is an unfunded mandate from the state.”

Republican state representative, Matt Teeters of Lingle, had requested the law be repealed until a thorough, complete foreign language program can be built.

“There’s not money, extra money in the block grant and we’re requiring it, and yet we don’t have any sort of programmatic requirements. So they can do whatever they choose to do. Some districts are doing more, some are doing less, some districts are doing nothing. They’re only required to do it for the first few years in elementary school then we’re not requiring it after that.”

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the Legislature’s Joint Interim Committee failed to sponsor the measure in a 7-7 tie vote recently.

“Until we can create a program that is comprehensive, that goes all the way through, what little gains we are making in those first few years, are lost.”

A bill to extend the program through sixth grade and provide funding failed in 2004.

“Currently there aren’t any efforts to create a program. You know, ultimately, there is a lot of money in the system. But, we need to focus our efforts, I believe, on the basics: reading, writing, and math.”

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