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Bill Would Lift Foreign Language Requirement For Early Elementary Kids


The Wyoming Legislature’s House Education Committee moved a bill forward to end the foreign language requirement for kindergarten through second grade students.

The requirement is currently an unfunded mandate. Evanston Representative Garry Piiparinen said the best approach to foreign language is a dual-immersion system where students are exposed consistently, and that the current requirement forces teachers to give up time they could use more productively. 

“It’s difficult to have things placed on a teacher’s plate when there’s not money to finance it, or having to teach something that gets in the way of what you may consider the more important things,” Piiparinen said. 

State Superintendent Jillian Balow does not support the bill because she said being exposed to a second language at an early age is important. The vote to move the bill forward was unanimous by the committee and it will now move to the House for further debate.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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