The Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce reiterates its support for offering driver exams in languages other than English with two key points. First, Debra Owens of the SF Chamber says that offering this key service in other languages will indirectly help newcomers learn English sooner:
Owens believes it’s a workforce development issue. It can facilitate integration into society through a legal norm. If test takers can’t study in the language they are best versed in then they are at a disadvantage.
“We want them to integrate and learn English, one of the best ways to do that is to get a job” [Mark Russo, “Sioux Falls Chamber Wants Driver License Test en Español,” KELO Radio, 2018.12.18—and bonus points to KELO Radio for finding and properly using the tilde over the n!].
Second, says Owen, South Dakota is already accommodating newcomers take other important licensing exams in their first languages:
“I can say that in South Dakota we have other departments and agencies that do allow people to take exams in their primary language.”
She says, for example, nail technicians can take their tests to become certified in Vietnamese [Russo, 2018.12.18].
You know, South Dakota does have human rights laws that prohibits discriminating against people due to national origin. There’s even an administrative rule on human rights (ARSD 20:03:11:01) that gives as its first example of “covert practices of discrimination on the basis of national origin” “the use of tests in the English language or requirements that employees and applicants read, write, or speak English when English is not the person’s first language or mother tongue and when English skill is not a requirement of the work to be performed.”
Leave it to South Dakota to break its own rules.
Related Lectura: North Dakota offers non-commercial written exams for drivers in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Serb Croatian, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic, Somali, Nepali, Turkish, and Swahili. The road test is in English only.