April 3, 2019


AUSTIN - Legislation filed by State Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rural South Texas) that allows students to receive high school credit for American Sign Language courses taken in elementary school passed a vote by the House on Tuesday morning.

"With over 4 million people in Texas that are deaf or hard of hearing, many children in the state already speak sign-language or are in need of an ASL education," said Guillen. "However, the value of an early ASL education has not previously been recognized in high school."                                                                                

The Texas Education Code currently allows elementary school foreign language programs, such as Spanish, to be recognized in high school, where two credits in a foreign language is required. Students who participated in these elementary foreign language programs are able to take more advanced or other classes in high school. However, ASL courses taken in elementary school have not been credited towards high school requirements. HB 678 allows for elementary school ASL courses to count towards high school credit, which in turn will encourage more students to engage in ASL education at an earlier age.

"This piece of legislation will help to recognize the needs of the Texas deaf community and provide more second language options for children. It's a win-win," Guillen concluded.


Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at,, and