By Dustin Beach
INDIANAPOLIS – Students who complete a minimum core group of Spanish classes in high school will soon have something to show for it.
House Bill 1209, signed into law earlier this year, outlines a core of Spanish class requirements for high school students. Upon successful completion of the courses, students will be given a functional and practicable workplace Spanish designation on their transcript. The idea is that it will open up job opportunities for students not going on to high education and give them an edge when applying for jobs that require at least a basic knowledge of the language.
The bill set the guidelines for obtaining as many as two designations as follows: one designation by completing one year of basic grammar, vocabulary and appropriate greetings, and a second designation by completing a year of additional grammar and more “workplace-based” vocabulary words.
Deborah Hall a Spanish teacher at South Dearborn high school thinks the new law will allow students to see a more practical use of the language, knowing it can be used in the workforce.
“Many students just don’t see the application of a foreign language in their everyday lives,” says Hall. “By having this designation on your transcript, it shows employers you have an extra skill, and you are going to get looked at or considered before someone else.”
Adam Hill, a sophomore at Purdue University, said he would have benefitted from having the option for a Spanish designation on his high school transcript.
“Its kind of like learning a new trade, learning a language as a trade,” said Hill. “It is a skill that one would not have to go to college for anymore.”
Hall and Hill said proficiency in Spanish could apply to many lines of work.
“With the rise in the number of Spanish speaking construction workers, I can see this as a way for students who look to enter that field right out of high school to communicate more efficiently,” said Hill.
Hall said Hoosiers aspiring to enter the law enforcement field could also benefit from mastering the language and in turn, receiving the transcript designation.
“If you are going to work in the city, say Indianapolis, as a police officer, you may need the language because it’s a multi-cultural city.”
The law goes into effect for the 2017-2018 school year.
Dustin Beach is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.