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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Graduation bill clears the Senate

10

April

The Senate signed off Wednesday on a bill that would provide more options to earn a high school diploma, lessen the high stakes of end-of-course exams and reward students for pursuing industry certifications.

The Career and Professional Education Act of 2013 (SB 1076) would make it easier for students to graduate high school after efforts by the state in recent years to ramp up graduation requirements. Some school superintendents had protested that the state was creating a bottleneck with strict academic expectations that didn’t give students any recognition for vocational training or industry certifications.

The bill, in many ways, addresses those concerns. End-of-course exams, for instance, would be worth 30 percent of a student’s final grade; right now, students have to pass EOCs to graduate. Students also could earn credit toward a high school diploma by pursuing career and technical training.

In a prepared statement, state Senator John Legg said the bill would strengthen the economy by giving students more opportunities to get the skills they need to pursue industry-specific jobs.

“The bill closes the gap between our high schools, post-secondary system and the workforce. It will place tools in the tool box for our teachers, ensuring that our children are competitive and finding gainful employment as Florida ’s economy continues to improve.”

Pinellas County school superintendent Mike Grego has advocated for legislation that would provide students with different “pathways” to graduation. He spoke before a House subcommittee on the issue this year and said Wednesday that he would continue to push on the issue.

Grego credited lawmakers with listening to school officials. He said the state’s ramped up graduation requirements had created a “very narrow” path to graduation. The legislation, if it makes it through the House and the governor, would allow students to have well-rounded school experience, he said.

Check out the Senate bill. There’s a lot in it.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:30pm]

    

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