CHEYENNE — Proposed curriculum changes in the Hathaway college scholarship program may be in trouble after the state House rejected the Senate's insistence that foreign language remain mandatory for some recipients.
The House voted 42-17 Monday to reject a conference committee report on House Bill 13.
The House wants to make foreign language optional in high school for all four levels of the state funded Hathaway scholarship, while the Senate wants to keep foreign language mandatory for the top two scholarship levels that award the most money.
Some lawmakers argue foreign language should be required to maintain rigor for the highest scholarships, while others contend that small schools have trouble providing the high school foreign language classes because of other curriculum demands.
Rep. William "Jeb" Steward, R-Encampment, said the Senate version goes the opposite direction of "lessening the burden on our small school districts." He suggested the two chambers appoint new conference committees to try again at seeking a compromise.
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Rep. Del McOmie, R-Lander, urged House members to accept the Senate version of the bill because he said the Senate might be happy to keep the current scholarship requirements and curriculum.
Resident students at Wyoming colleges can receive up to $3,200 a year from the Hathaway program, depending on their high school grades and test scores. Students who take more rigorous high-school math, science, foreign language and language arts classes and get the best grades receive the most money.
Currently, college bound students who want the two highest scholarship levels have to take a foreign language class in high school. The two lowest scholarship awards only require a junior high level foreign language class.
The House version of the bill makes foreign language an optional requirement that can be substituted with career-vocational and fine and performing arts classes.
The Senate version maintains that in order to earn the most scholarship money, a student must take high school foreign language classes.