(by Corky Siemaszko, NYDailyNews.com) – If you can’t read and understand a simple sentence like this, you won’t be allowed to graduate from high school in one Connecticut city.

Starting in 2015, students in New London will have to prove they can speak English to get their diplomas.

The city’s Board of Education made that mandatory to improve the chances of students in a diverse immigrant town where at least 28 other languages are spoken.

“We know from colleges and employers, that our students are going to have to know how to read and write in English if they are going be successful,” Superintendent Nicholas Fischer, told the Day of New London newspaper.

Community leaders said they support testing students in English, but said the schools need to do a better job of teaching them our language.

“It’s good that we are raising standards, and I don’t see a problem with testing,” Elizabeth Garcia Gonzalez, executive director of Centro de la Comunidad and a former school board president, told The Day.

“But I have concerns about a student who comes into the high school at 11th grade and can’t speak the language.”

Just 16% of the 10th graders at New London High School scored well in English on standardized tests in 2010, the Day reported.

Connecticut does not require that graduating students demonstrate they can speak English to get their diplomas, but it allows individual districts to exceed minimum state standards.

“It’s a statement about what New London expects of its graduates,” spokesman Tom Murphy said.


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1.  What new graduation requirement will the New London, Connecticut school district begin implementing in 2015?

2.   How many different languages are spoken by students in New London?

3.   Why has the New London Board of Ed initiated this new graduation requirement?

4.  What percent of 10th graders at New London High School scored well in English on standardized tests in 2010?

5.   List the pros and cons of having to know English in order to graduate from a U.S. high school.

6.  a) Does your state/school district require student to demonstrate proficiency of a language to graduate?
b)  Do you think students in U.S. high schools should be required to be proficient in English to graduate? Explain your answers.

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