Board of Education approves new high school graduation requirements

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Change is on the way to Kentucky high schools.

There are new things students will have to do in order to graduate.

The Kentucky Board of Education voted unanimously today to approve those changes.

The new high school graduation standards approved by the board will go into effect in the fall of 2019.

In order to graduate students will be required to take an additional test to show proficiency in reading and math as well as show they are academically or career ready by completing additional courses or reaching benchmark scores on exams.

At the same time, Algebra II will no longer be required.

Commissioner Wayne Lewis says these new standards are needed to make sure Kentucky students are ready for the real world upon graduation.

But some teachers are weary of changing the graduation requirements so quickly.

“I don’t think that’s enough time. I think that gives people less than a year to prepare our kids for what they,” said Jessica Hiler, president of the Fayette County Education Association.

Specifically, teachers say they’re worried about preparing their students for this new test high schoolers would take their sophomore year and have to pass in order to graduate.

“Some of our kids don’t do well and I think that we’re alienating a population of our kids that already struggle with taking standardized tests,” said Hiler.

Some parents agree.

“I have an issue with that because I don’t know if that proves anything other than she can or can’t take a test,” said Penny Christian.

Penny Christian is president of the 16th District PTA and has a middle school daughter who will be impacted by these new requirements.

“I love the idea of accountability on the part of students. I think that’s a given that we should have high expectations and that the kids should be held accountable. I don’t think this does that,” said Christian.

Christian says she’s worried these new standards will actually hold her daughter back.

“While they say it’s giving them more personal freedom, is it really going to put her more into a bubble?” said Christian.

But during Wednesday’s board meeting Commissioner Lewis said he believes these new graduation requirements will only help students succeed.

There will now be a 30 day public comment period as well as a public hearing where anyone with concerns can share them with the board.

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