Increased High School Graduation Requirements Approved - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/15/06-Longview

Increased High School Graduation Requirements Approved

A decision today that could make it harder for some East Texas students to graduate.   Today, the State Board of Education preliminarily approved a plan to increases the number of credits required to graduate. Right now, high school seniors need 24 credits, including 3 years of math and 3 years of science, but under the new plan, starting with next's year freshmen, 26 credits will be required, increasing to 4 years of math and 4 years of science.  

"They're making it harder to graduate from high school." Spring Hill High School Principal Michael Gilbert says today's decision by the State Board of Education will put a strain on his high school and its students.

"They're justification is the expectations of a high school graduate are greater than they've ever been, which is true...but they're still teenagers," Gilbert says.

Under the new plan, two more credits would be added to curriculum, but it's not that easy.   "You add that fourth year science that everyone has to take that's a place that 120 students are going to have to be able to go and a teacher that's going to have to added," say Gilbert.

Even parents are worried about how the plan will work. "I just really believe that we should take a look at it from a monetary standpoint...I don't think the state will pay for it," says Rev. Herb Spady, who has a junior at Longview High School. 

And many fear more required classes mean less time for elective classes.  Mike Barnes is the Band Director at Spring Hill High School, he says, "I feel like it's going to hurt the kids because they're not going to be able to be involved in all the different things that they would like to."

But others feel adding to curriculum is always a good thing, that it shouldn't take away from extracurricular activities.  Lindsey Moore has a son at Longview High School, he says, "My son in band and football and he's a sophomore and he's in Algebra II right now. He's in all pre-AP classes so I don't think so. 

Whatever side, Gilbert says he hopes the legislature understands..."there's a lot more to it than just adding a class."

The State Board of Education says final approval of the increased requirements is set for the Board's November 15th meeting.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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