More possible changes for high school graduation requirements - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

More possible changes for high school graduation requirements

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Amarillo, TX -  Texas high school students may see more cutbacks to courses required to graduate.

The Board of Education had its final rounds of discussion today on new high school graduation requirements.

They are considering cutting foreign language and speech to graduate.

The legislature voted last summer to remove some science and math graduation requirements.

A WT speech professor, Jessica Mallard, argues foreign language and speech are essential for young adults.

"Public speaking is sometimes people's biggest fears. So they are not going to take it if they don't have to. But they are going to need that skill throughout life ... And so I think it is essential to keep it as a required component of the high school curriculum."

Mallard says classes like speech will only grow in need because technology has changed the way we communicate.

"Students are interacting less. They can be in a public setting next to each other and they are still texting each other. And so that speaking component is really important."

Supporters say the law will help Texas meet the demands of the state's modern workforce.

However, the department head of the English, Philosophy, and Modern languages, Stephen E. Severn, at WT says knowing a foreign language will benefit a student, no matter what they do after high school.

"Being able to communicate well is, if not the single most important skill that individuals require to go through life. Learning any language, strengthens your ability to learn all languages. So learning a foreign language will actually help a student in their own language, their own writing, their own speaking"

The board will make its final vote on its new standards Friday.