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Volume 72, Issue 63, Thursdsay, November 16, 2006


Staff Editorial


                Matt Dulin                  Chris Elliott                        Robyn Morrow 
                                Johnny Peña                  Kristen Young

High school could get tougher for a change 

The State Board of Education must decide by Friday whether to make changes to the default high school graduation plan requiring more rigorous math and science courses.

The decision to require four years of math and science has more or less been made. The question now is how to implement the rule, and whether students ought to be able to take a variety of courses to meet the requirements or simply be required to take tougher classes. Think pre-calculus and physics. Yeah, ouch.

But if the state really wants to mold smarter students who are better prepared for 21st-century problems, they're going to need stronger backgrounds in math and science, even if they aren't going into career fields that typically demand those skills.

That means raising standards. The changes would take effect in the state's recommended graduation plan, which is the default plan for all students. The only way to take another route -- such as the minimal plan that only requires three years of math and two of science -- is to get parents to sign off on their kids' plans. So those students who want to avoid math at all costs can still take that path.

Some argue many bright students simply don't have the mind for math and science and instead lean toward liberal arts skills, but if we're to instill a different standard for these students, then those who are more proficient in math and science ought to be able to change up their English or social studies tracks. 

Being able to offer a variety of courses to fill the requirements is attractive, but not at the expense of preparing a student for college. Requiring that students take pre-calculus and physics, to be specific, ensures that all graduates under the default plan get the same high level of education. 

The state's curriculum should really expect more from students in all fields of study, not just math and science. An opportunity to raise the bar and help boost students' knowledge of their world should not be missed.The Bottom Line: Suck it up, crybabies.


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