A push to raise graduation standards
With green ties and some green shirts, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, led a group of Republicans, business leaders and others this morning in announcing legislation to raise the state's high school graduation standards.
Even in these economic times, Hasner said, "we cannot retreat from the high standards and the mission of reform."
Calling it the "21st Century Diploma Initiative," Hasner and co-presenters Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, and Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, explained the proposed change in standards:
Starting with the freshman class of 2014:
- Take algebra I and geometry for two of the four required math courses.
- Take biology I as one of three required courses.
Starting with the freshman class of 2016:
- Take algebra I, geometry and algebra II for three of the four required math courses.
- Take biology I and chemistry for two of the three required courses.
In addition, the legislation would increase the graduation required score on the 10th grade FCAT from a 2 to a 3, and bring Bright Futures requirements in line with the new standards.
"If we do not set some basic curricula, we are depriving our students of the opportunity of reaching their highest academic achievement," said Altman, sponsor of the Senate bill.
Hasner explained that in order to transform Florida's economy, we need a competitive work force. And a key ingredient in that competitive work force is a "high-quality education."
Fresen, sponsor of the House bill, said that without raising these standards for high school graduation, "our children are going to fall behind, our businesses are going to fall behind."
Asked about the cost of adding more courses in these core subjects, Fresen said they anticipate no additional costs because these subjects are already offered.
Amy Hollyfield, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau