Iowa schools will now be allowed to teach sign language in what would be considered a world language class. Currently schools are prohibited by Iowa law from using an American Sign Language course to meet accreditation standards as part of a foreign language class.
Iowa has two community colleges that provide training to be a licensed sign language interpreter, while others offer some sign language courses. In making the name change of foreign language courses to world language courses, the bill would allow sign language to be taught in Iowa high schools as a recognized world language. It would have the same level as current foreign language courses, in hopes that more high schools will now offer sign language courses.
Iowa currently requires four years of foreign language, but the Department of Education is allowed to waive the third and fourth year if no students have enrolled in the class. The waiver does not change under the bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration.