Students driven mad by grad requirements

OlympiaApril 11, 2014 

The new Washington bill proposing that students earn 24 credits to graduate from high school is absolute lunacy. Teens, educators and parents have challenges navigating the current requirements.

Consider the student who moves to Washington as a high school junior. She loves music and math. With the current requirements she may have to drop her beloved music class and her exciting AP Calculus class to fit in art and career technical education requirements. Or she can take an extra year to graduate.

The Washington State School Board is a bloated, delusional body. Its members are disconnected from the realities of high school life. All students need room to follow passions. Struggling students need room to take skill-building classes. College-bound students need space to take advanced classes without being distracted by nitpicking regulations.

Well-meaning rule setters rush forward crying “Math!” “Art!” “PE!” “Music!” “History!” “Sciences!” “CTE!” “Language Arts!” “Foreign Languages!” until every student is driven mad by the minutiae and the cacophony.

A better path would be this: Limit class size to 15 students. Pay teachers well. When those two aspects are in place, add in firm teacher accountability and, finally, add in further graduation requirements. What we will see with the new law is more exhaustion and more failure.

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