This bill would “provide for the substitution of computer coding course credit for any foreign language course credit required to graduate with a standard or advanced diploma for children with disabilities. Such requirement replaces a narrower provision in current law that requires the Board to permit a student who is pursuing an advanced diploma and whose individualized education program specifies a credit accommodation for world language to substitute two standard units of credit in computer science for two standard units of credit in a world language.”
In other words, students with any disability could replace any world language requirement with computer coding for the standard and advanced diploma. This legislation diminishes the importance of world language education and disadvantages all of Virginia’s students.
The “narrower provision in current law” refers to the Senate Bill passed and signed last year, which was negotiated after FLAVA members testified in opposition to the broader provision. At the very least, this new law should be given the opportunity to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
As you know, world language educators and computer professionals maintain that computer coding, although an important skill, cannot teach the same essential skills as world language instruction. In addition, we believe that world language instruction benefits all students, and there is research to support this belief. However, Delegate Glenn Davis (R-District 84), the bill’s patron, has consistently demonstrated his opposition to the benefits of world language instruction.