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Public Hearing on Proposed New High School Graduation Requirements Set for Nov. 29

Scott Raymond

The Kentucky Department of Education is holding a public hearing Nov. 29 on proposed new high school graduation requirements. The Kentucky School Boards Association has voiced concern about the ability of local school districts to meet the requirements and sent extensive comments to the state department of education.

The proposed new graduation requirements that got preliminary approval from the state board of education in October include demonstration of basic competence in reading and math in 10th grade though an assessment or a portfolio.  That would go into effect for students who are in 7th grade this year. 

Also proposed is that students now in 8th grade be “transition ready” for postsecondary education or the workforce through options that include qualifying scores on the ACT, AP or other exams, or apprenticeships or industry credits.

Kentucky School Boards Association Director of Governmental Relations Eric Kennedy said everyone in the state wants high educational standards and student achievement. But Kennedy said many local school districts just won’t have the funds or teachers to meet the new requirements.

“Let’s look at what we absolutely can do," said Kennedy. "Let’s not do anything that is just not able to be implemented which could end up having people drop out of high school and not finishing and not getting that diploma that we’ve all worked for decades to get to and to reach with a higher graduation rate.

“If this were to pass and be adopted, the dropout rate could increase to some degree," said Kennedy. "I really feel like that should stop everyone in their tracks and say let’s really take more time to be absolutely sure that this is appropriate, that we are able to implement this, that we can do this well.”

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis issued a statementthis week repeating his message that this is the time for Kentucky to raise the bar and give more meaning to a high school diploma. He said the new requirements would offer Kentucky students higher academic achievement and career success.

The public hearing on the proposed graduation requirements is Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Kentucky Board of Education in Frankfort.

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