H.B. 3-309 Second Language Elementary/Middle School

Second Language for Elementary/Middle School Bill

This bill, written by Emily Shelest and Rylan Losh of Strasburg High School, would require a second language course for all children in Elementary and Middle School in Colorado. 

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Emily Shelest speaking in the house 

This bill would create more jobs in the teaching industry, as more teachers would be required to teach the extra courses. There would be multiple language classes in every school, as one of the language courses allows for the student to choose which language they would learn. As it is already taught in schools and is the 2nd most spoken language in the United Sates, Spanish would be a required class for all of the schools. 

The bill made it to the House, being uncontested in the committee, yet failed in the House, being voted down ten votes to forty-two votes. Sadly, Rylan Losh was not available for the debate, so Emily Shelest was left to argue the bill on her own, and perhaps that may be the reason why it failed. The main reason for failure however, or at least it seemed to be, was that the fact that the bill was deemed unconstitutional by some of the representatives. 

While the bill did fail in the house, it was said by Representative Post that she supported the idea behind the bill, but feels that it is unfair to some of the schools. Some schools are already struggling in the financial area and adding another language class would be an unaffordable expense for those schools. 

I had a chance to ask Emily some questions about her bill. 

Q: How many languages will be available at each school? 

A: “A minimum of two, but it is up to the school if they want to add more [language classes].”

Q: Where will the teachers for the courses come from? 

A: “There are many students who earn a degree in foreign languages and an education degree.”

Q: Will disabled students have modified tests, or have lower required scores? 

A: “For disabled students the class will be modified. As well as the test. [This will be] Making it more realistic for them [the disabled students].”

Q:  Where will the money for this bill come from? 

A: “The money will come from a very slight increase in the state tax rate, not big enough for an individual to notice.”

Author: Zachariah Shelest