Committee Votes to Reform High-School Graduation Standards
Recognizing that Connecticut needs to produce a workforce ready and able to compete in the 21st-century economy, the legislature’s Education Committee this week introduced and approved a proposal to raise high school graduation standards statewide. The proposal is based on a plan developed by the State Department of Education, adopted by the State Board of Education and endorsed by the business community and higher education.
Back to basics
Under HB-6488, greater emphasis would be placed on core academic skills necessary for success in higher education or the workforce. Beginning with classes graduating in 2016, students will need a minimum of 25 credits to graduate, including four in English, four in math, three in sciences, two in a world language, one in the arts or vocational education, and a senior project.
Approval of HB-6488 is one of the most positive legislative actions this session, both for Connecticut’s young people and the state’s economy. Because of the state’s fiscal situation, however, the Education Committee called for funding of the reforms to begin in 2012.
Higher ed, too
At the same time, the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) approved tougher new admissions standards. The change was motivated in part by a recent CBIA survey showing that employers believe high schools need more rigorous curricula and should increase students’ exposure to career options.
The new CSUS standards match the high-school guidelines approved by the Education Committee. Students seeking to attend a school in the CSUS system—Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State universities – would have to have completed the following:
- 4 years of English, including composition
- 4 years of mathematics including Algebra I, geometry and algebra II
- 3 years of science, including two laboratory science courses
- 3 years of social studies, with U.S. history required
- 2 years of world languages (this may be met by demonstrating competency at the second level)
A skilled workforce is of great concern to Connecticut employers, who support a variety of high-school reform measures to ensure that young people graduate with the knowledge and proficiencies necessary to succeed. In fact, 59% of executives in CBIA’s latest membership survey said they would like to see more courses that reinforce analytical and problem-solving skills.
“CBIA is extremely pleased both that the Education Committee has approved the high-school reform bill and that the four CSUS universities have strengthened their admissions standards to align with the competencies students need to succeed in both post-secondary education and the 21st- century workplace,” said Lauren Weisberg Kaufman, CBIA’s vice president for education and training policy. “We believe that the state is finally on the right path to ensure Connecticut’s young people will be well prepared for the future.”
For more information, contact CBIA’s Judy Resnick at 860-244-1937 (Judy.firstname.lastname@example.org).
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