Florida needs more paths to high school graduation, Sen. Legg says
Florida high school students already know which courses they need to pass to earn credits toward graduation.
But perhaps they need a few more options, suggests state Sen. John Legg, chairman of the Senate Education Policy Committee.
Legg told the Gradebook that his committee will be looking into ways to add industry certification programs to the list of courses acceptable toward a diploma. The courses must meet the academic standards set forth by the state, just as any other acceptable credit-bearing class. But if a student can successfully complete an engineering-focused certificate program, for instance, that includes the same lessons as a regular physics course, why shouldn't it count, he said.
While reviewing the high school course structure, Legg said, the committee also intends to take a closer look at the value of the eleventh and twelfth grades. Many students already take advantage of dual enrollment in college for free, often replacing their upper-level high school courses, Legg noted. Many other students simply complain about being bored.
The committee might investigate apprenticeship programs, added certifications and other methods of making the final years of high school more productive and worthwhile, he said.
"If we don't do something different, we might as well cancel the eleventh and twelfth grades," he said. "It can't just be a wasteland of high school football, proms and homecoming. We need something more relevant."