Local News

Graduation Requirements Changing for N.C. High School Students

Posted June 7, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— After three years of study and public debate, the State Board of Education on Thursday approved new requirements that would prepare all high school students in the state for college.

The new requirements involve an extra math class, Algebra II, and six electives of some combination of art, foreign language or vocational classes and are effective beginning with the class that will be freshmen in the fall of 2009, the students finishing seventh grade this month.

Students with severe disabilities are not affected by the changes.

The state's current three-track system puts high school students in line either to get a job, go to community college or go to a four-year university, depending on what students decide early in their freshman year of high school.

But state school board members said the tactic is short-sighted and outdated and that ultimately all students should have the curriculum needed to go to college.

"We realize that the 21st-century jobs and careers will require more education, more creativity and problem-solving," June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction, said. "We also know that our students will have to compete and collaborate with people around the world, and we want our students to be ready for the economy of the future and not the economy of the past."

To graduate, students will have to take four math units, four English units, three social studies units, three science units, one health and physical education class and six electives.

"Students drop out because they're not engaged," school board member Kathy Taft said. "They drop out because they don't feel like anybody cares about them. So, one of the things we want to do is make our curriculum more relevant, and we feel like we've done that today."

The new requirements, however, raised concern among the members of the North Carolina Association of Educators, which represents about 60,000 public school employees.

Although it is satisfied with the version of requirements passed by the board, Vice President Sheri Strickland said it is concerned about getting enough qualified teachers to teach the more challenging math courses.

They also want to make sure students who are having trouble with the new curriculum get help.

"The kids that are going to be the first round of students (that are going to be required to take the more rigorous courses) are going to be the ones who need a lot of support and, perhaps, remediation along the way to end up being successful," Strickland said.

Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee said he would like to see the standards get even stronger in the years ahead, particularly with foreign languages.

"It's just a baby step, and we've only just started," Lee said.

87 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • dakota_loves_me Jun 9, 2007

    Okay i am sorry to say, but that wont happen. My sister has already chosen her schedule for high plus they cant do that because that would make the class so doubled up that they would have extend out the schools. Especially middle creek high! They already have trailors. But switching around schedules will really confuse the kids!

  • lollly52 Jun 9, 2007

    @reerah - - so sorry, but years of watching my kids go through wcpss make me disagree with you. 3s & 4s are ignored while the 2s are taught to jump the EOG hurdle. The very definiton of a 4 is that the kid gets to that level independently. Don't get me wrong, teachers have a TOUGH job and managing some of the kids is impossible. No one is blaming the teachers. It is just the way the system is designed.

  • reerah Jun 8, 2007

    I am a teacher and the below statement is SO WRONG. Grow up and know your facts before commenting.

    "Voice - here how the states makes the classroom work:

    Real smart kids - (3's and 4's) get left to their own pursuits because they will do good anyway

    Not so smart kids - (level 1) get ignored and suspended since they won't get up to a 3 anyway unless they take the test three times and you add the scores

    The kids that get all the attention are the 2's - these are the kids teachers have to fawn over to get them to level 3 and get this silly state off their backs."

  • lollly52 Jun 8, 2007

    @cjump - so true. And our national test rankings are so bad because wcpss spends no time with the 3&4's - the very ones who could pull our scores up.

  • seeingthru Jun 8, 2007

    well maybe in another decade of improvements you will be getting a little closer to the quality UK system

  • GWALLY Jun 8, 2007

    ...........oops.........misspelled hallelujah or hallaluja....(whichever you prefer)!!!! I'm just soooooooo happy!!!!!!!!!!

  • GWALLY Jun 8, 2007

    All I will say is.......HALALULIA.....my youngest graduates TODAY and starts the real world TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No more dumbing down, no more slowing down, no more no child left behind, no more spending 80% of the teachers time on the 20% that the state is trying to MANUFACTURE passing grades for, no more government school bureaucracy.............!!!

  • BridgeBuilder Jun 8, 2007

    I'd really like to see the study that states the only reason kids drop out of school is because they're not "engaged".

    It is absolute absurdity to believe that all students are college material or even want it. I honestly fear that the short sightedness by our education administrators and the pressure this state and Wake County places on our children will eventually lead to a bad end.

  • mattatiww Jun 8, 2007

    Voice from the Pews

    I agree with some of what you say; however I think your mind set is part of the issue. The school system has always, or for as long as I can recall held the AGs in such high esteem while letting some fall behind due to neglect, after all it is the AGs that make a school “look” like its doing so very well. You should take care to remember the deference between being an “achiever” and not being allowed to “achieve”. The AGs will always be in the spot light, and that a good thing, but shadows should not fall on the others.

  • cjump Jun 8, 2007

    Voice - here how the states makes the classroom work:

    Real smart kids - (3's and 4's) get left to their own pursuits because they will do good anyway

    Not so smart kids - (level 1) get ignored and suspended since they won't get up to a 3 anyway unless they take the test three times and you add the scores

    The kids that get all the attention are the 2's - these are the kids teachers have to fawn over to get them to level 3 and get this silly state off their backs.

More...