American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual/spatial language with its own specific organization, structure, and grammar.  ASL is used as the primary mode of communication for many people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and is part of a rich and distinctive Deaf culture that has its own history, arts, and customs.  Therefore, the Nebraska State Board of Education supports the recognition of ASL as a national language.

There are many benefits to offering American Sign Language to our students.  Students develop both expressive and receptive competency, allowing them to better communicate with others who use ASL.  Increased exposure to ASL encourages integration of the deaf and hearing communities and stimulates interest in careers involving deafness, specifically sign language interpreting and deaf education.

The Department of Education will continue to ensure that local school districts understand that ASL is recognized as a national language in Nebraska.  Therefore, students taking ASL courses may receive world language credit.  Students may be able to fulfill language requirements for admission to postsecondary institutions through ASL courses subject to and in accordance with the requirements of those institutions.

The Department will continue to offer an appropriate endorsement in ASL to prepare teachers to provide instruction in that language.  The Department also encourages collaboration with postsecondary institutions to develop or enhance programs to offer the necessary coursework.