State school board to vote on new high school graduation requirements

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 7:27 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A vote from the Alabama State Department of Education could change high school graduation requirements. On Thursday, the board will decide whether to add career readiness benchmarks all students must meet.

“There’s no reason Alabama can’t be as good in education as we are in our sports,” said Tim McCartney, chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council.

“Right now, about 75% of our students are graduating college and career-ready,” said Jay Love with the Alabama Business Education Alliance.

To raise that percentage, the Alabama Workforce Council and the Alabama Business Education Alliance invested in students by drafting new college and career readiness requirements.

“Everybody graduating high school needs to be ready to go to work or go to college,” said McCartney.

There are eight potential readiness requirements:

  1. Scoring college ready in at least one subject on the ACT
  2. Scoring at the silver level or above on the WorkKeys assessment
  3. Earning a passing score on an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam
  4. Successfully earning a career technical education credential
  5. Earning dual enrollment credit at a college or university
  6. Successfully enlisting in the military
  7. Completing a CTE program of study
  8. Completing an in-school youth apprenticeship

Many districts have these but don’t require them of students.

“We refer to our students as scholars here in Selma,” said William Powell, the secondary education director of Selma City Schools.

Powell says the number of scholars in their dual enrollment classes has tripled.

“We’re looking to even go even higher during this next enrollment session,” he said.

Counselors in Selma work with students early on to shape their post-graduation plans, so Powell says the requirements would have a positive outcome for students and the surrounding area.

“I do see students or scholars that we taught and work with, again, come back home or stay here to work,” said Powell.

“We want all our high school graduates to have a college and career-ready diploma,” said Love.

If the board adopts the new administrative code, the requirement would start in 2028.

The state school board will vote on the new proposal this Thursday at its monthly meeting.

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