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Thad Altman, Lori Berman Team Up on Standards for Interpreters Focused on Deaf K-12 Students

Florida is one of five states that do not have standards for interpreters in K-12 for deaf and hard of hearing students but a new bill seeks to change that.

State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, filed a bill creating standards for K-12 interpreters on Tuesday while state Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, introduced a similar proposal on Thursday.The sponsors insist the bill will “establish professional standards for all K-12 educational interpreters ensuring excellency and consistency in the public school system” and gives school districts five years to comply. 

“I am very pleased to file this good bill along with the many advocacy groups in favor of it,” Berman said on Friday. “It is important that we ensure school districts across the state are hiring only qualified interpreters to assist students that are hard of hearing or deaf. Education is a vital key to lifetime success and a properly qualified interpreter can facilitate and improve educational opportunities for the students who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

“Without these standards we continue to leave our deaf and hard of hearing children behind,” Altman insisted. “We fail to provide our students with equal opportunities when we consistently exclude a community from having access to an education deserving of all children. I believe the passage of this bill will increase the chance for our students to excel academically and provide them with the opportunity for success in the workforce after they leave our public schools.”

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