Bill Would Revamp Oklahoma's Graduation Requirements

Saturday, 13 April 2024 07:27

Bill Would Revamp Oklahoma's Graduation Requirements Featured

Written by Jennifer Palmer, OklahomaWatch
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Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, wants to update the state's high school graduation requirements, giving students more flexibility to choose courses that align with their career goals.

House Bill 3278 would make a few big changes to what courses students must take to earn a diploma.

First, students would have to complete four years of math, upping the current requirement by one year. Two of the credits would need to be algebra 1 and either geometry or algebra 2. The bill grants more flexibility to what counts for the other two math credits, including through real world application courses.

Oklahoma would join 20 states and the District of Columbia that require at least four years of math, according to the Education Commission of the States.

Additionally, students would need to complete six credits in subjects that align with their Individual Career and Academic Plan, which is each student's guide to what they want to achieve after high school. These classes could be in core subjects or world languages, computer technology, Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, fine arts, or other approved courses.

One year of fine arts would no longer be required. Two years of world language and physical education would be strongly encouraged, but also not required.

Baker, a former classroom teacher, said the plan increases the relevance of students' ICAP but still gives students flexibility when their post-high school goals change.

Under the current version of the bill, the total number of credits required for graduation remains at 23. Students would still need four years of English, three years of lab science and three years of history.

The House overwhelmingly passed the bill in March. This week, the Senate Education Committee approved the measure and it's now eligible to be heard by the full Senate.

Current high school students would not be affected. If signed into law, the new requirements would start with students entering 8th grade in the 2025-26 school year.

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