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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Bill would help expand foreign language offerings



TALLAHASSEE - State lawmakers are considering a bill this legislative session that aims to open Florida’s public schools to new languages by making it easier for teachers to teach new and different languages not commonly found in classrooms now.

The bill would give Florida’s teachers an easier way to get certified to teach 11 additional languages, including Italian, Chinese, Arabic and even Haitian Creole.

Right now, the Florida Department of Education only offers state certification tests for Spanish, French, German and Latin, which means those are standard in most school districts. While other foreign languages, like Chinese, are taught in some schools, they’re not common, because those teachers must have a bachelor’s degree in any language that the state doesn’t offer a certification test for.

The proposal would allow teachers to get certified in a language by passing a foreign language test issued by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Teachers would have to pay for the test out of their own pocket, which runs $134 for the oral exam and $65 for the written test, according to the council.

Already 15 other states, most recently Texas, use the council’s tests to certify foreign language teachers in their school system.

Jennifer Liberto, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:35am]


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