Putting Education Reform To The Test

How Florida High School Graduation Requirements Will Change in 2013-2014

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Lawmakers say they are not lowering the bar by easing some high school graduation requirements.

Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to sign an education bill which changes high school graduation requirements, expands career education options and creates new elementary and middle school computer training programs.

The most significant change is to high school graduation requirements. For students beginning high school in the 2013-2014 school year, the bill will eliminate some required math and science courses while allowing students to substitute career training for math and science requirements.

No longer required: Algebra II, Chemistry and Physics. Students would only have to pass an Algebra I end-of-course exam. In other classes, end-of-course exams will count for 30 percent of the total grade but passage is not required to graduate.

The bill also creates a voluntary “scholar” diploma with additional requirements.Students would have to take: Algebra II, statistics or another advanced math course; Physics or Chemistry and another advanced science course; two credits of a foreign language; an Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or dual enrollment course.

Students seeking a scholar diploma must also pass additional end-of-course exams.

Students taking career education courses — an aerospace or information technology training program, for instance — may be able to exchange some of those credits for the required courses. The State Board of Education will determine which job training credits can be used towards graduation requirements.

The bill creates cyber security and digital arts programs for elementary school students, with bonus funding for schools when students complete the programs.

Schools will also design the Florida Digital Tools Certificate for middle school students with bonus funding for schools when students earn the certificate. The program would teach word processing, spreadsheets and creating multimedia presentations including text, graphics and sound.


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