Sunday, March 18, 2007

Preparing for Increased High School Graduation Requirements

At the March 8 meeting, I asked several questions. Here is one that I'm most anxious to hear back on:

I know that the new state mandated graduation requirements will require some changes, and we'll see more kids taking tougher classes.

The three primary changes will require more kids to take more English, more science (including either Physics or Chemistry), and more math (specifically up to Algebra II).

Has the board looked at how many graduates from the class of 2006 would've passed these requirements? I'm curious because it might give some indication of what the district needs to do to prepare for these increased requirements. For example, if only 65% - 70% of the 2006 graduates would've taken Algebra II, then that would mean we will probably need more math teachers, and will probably need some intervention strategies on how to deal with those kids that are likely to struggle with math at that level.

I'm sure there is some committee working on it somewhere, and I'm sure you would've pulled those numbers together at this stage of the game. Will you please share with the public the numbers of students, broken down by high school, of those 2006 graduates that took math through Algebra II, and took either Physics and/or Chemistry?

The board is not responsible for identifying shortfalls in the district curriculum, nor should it be responsible for devising intervention strategies. But the board does have an oversight responsibility, and should have a clear picture of what issues are facing the district. The board should have a sense of confidence that the administration is looking at these issues, and that confidence should stem from data, not just "blind faith".

Trust, but verify.