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Ohio Language Advocates Stave Off Proposal to Eliminate World Language Program Requirements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 21, 2021 -- This month, Ohio’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), as part of their overall effort to eliminate education regulations, recommended removing language from the Ohio Administrative Code that would have terminated the requirement that Ohio schools have world language programs.


JNCL-NCLIS worked closely with ACTFL and the Ohio Foreign Language Association in a successful effort to convince JCARR and then Ohio’s legislature not to terminate that requirement. According to OFLA, this is the first time in 25 years that Ohio’s legislature invalidated a proposed regulation change from JCARR. This outcome demonstrates again the power of JNCL-NCLIS working in concert with national and state organizations to prevent the approval of problematic state laws and regulations.


The original press release from JCARR can be found below.


The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) Tuesday voted unanimously to invalidate a rule submitted by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), following opponent testimony submitted by educators and business groups.


ODE Rule 3301-35-04 would have removed a requirement for all schools to offer personal safety and assault prevention in K-6 grades, in addition to foreign languages, technology, family and consumer sciences, and business education.


JCARR received in-person testimony from Terri Marlow, a member of the Ohio Foreign Language Association (OFLA). She said the intent of the ODE proposal "is not to remove the study of world language from Ohio schools" but added that would still be the result if approved.


Without a requirement, Marlow continued, the field would become "a target" when schools have to make budget cuts. That would prevent students from learning a second language that can help them in careers or college admissions, and she said that those in smaller rural or inner city districts would be the ones affected as affluent schools would be able to continue offering language courses.


Written opponent testimony was also submitted by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, other OFLA members and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. JCARR also received joint opposing comments from the NFIB, Ohio Manufacturers' Association, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Business Roundtable and Ohio Excels.


Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) moved to invalidate the rule, saying there were at least three JCARR prong violations, and Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) seconded the motion. Hillyer cited conflict with statutory authority and adverse impact on business among the prong violations.


Following the vote, JCARR Chair Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) said that a resolution will be drafted in the House, which will have five session days to act. The Senate will have a matching timeframe, and if the resolution is passed the rule will be invalidated.

 

About JNCL-NCLIS:


Established in 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) unites a national network of leading organizations and businesses comprised of over 300,000 language professionals to advocate for equitable language learning opportunities. Our mission is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.


Contact: info@languagepolicy.org



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