Texas won’t require all high school graduates to pass Algebra II, reports the Texas Tribune. Of five new diplomas, only the honors and STEM diplomas will require advanced algebra. The school board feared struggling students would drop out if they saw no realistic pat to a diploma.
Only half of the state’s high school graduates go directly to college, writes Sophie Quinton
Rather than a recommended four years each of math, science, and social studies, Texas students now need just three credits in each and must take five end-of-course tests rather than 15. Students will be able to earn “endorsements” in areas such as public service, arts and humanities, and business and industry. The State Board of Education is currently debating which endorsements will require Algebra 2.
Florida is rolling back college-prep-for-all requirements passed in 2010, writes Quinton. Students who take Algebra 2 and either chemistry or physics will earn a “scholar” diploma, while those who earn one or more industry certifications will earn a “merit” designation.
Sixteen other states have made Algebra II a graduation requirement, she writes. So far, they’re staying the course.
Once a state has multiple high school diplomas, it makes a lot of sense to create a college-prep diploma, a vocational-prep diploma and a basic diploma for those with minimal skills. People worry that fewer disadvantaged students will go to college. I think more will earn a degree if they’ve chosen the academic track. And those who choose the technical/vocational track will have a decent shot at success.