Should Florida consider changes to high school education requirements?

Should Florida consider changes to high school education requirements? 

  • ‘One size doesn’t fit all.’ Should Florida widen the path to high school graduation? - Tampa Bay Times 

Excerpt: Twenty-four credits. A grade-point average of 2.0 or better. Passing scores on the state's Algebra I and 10th grade reading tests, or their alternatives. 

Most Florida teenagers know that list: They're the requirements to earn a standard diploma from a public high school. 

For more than a decade, state lawmakers have discussed creating what they call 'alternate pathways' to get that document, which holds the key to joining the military, pursuing higher education, sometimes even getting a meaningful job. 

Their rationale is simple. 

"One size doesn't fit all," said state Rep. Ralph Massullo, a Citrus County Republican who chairs the House PreK-12 Innovation committee. 

Massullo filed a handful of bills in 2018 aimed at diminishing the importance of test results for graduation purposes, and amping up the value of industry certifications, which train students for work in fields like welding and health care. He said he anticipates trying to move similar legislation this spring — not to lower standards, but to offer other ways to prove teens have met them, such as through more "practical" courses.

Bottom Line: According to annual THE World University Rankings the latest worldwide education rankings paint a picture of what’s working and what isn’t worldwide. Here are the top five countries for grade school education outcomes entering 2018: 

  1. South Korea 
  2. Japan 
  3. Singapore 
  4. Hong Kong 
  5. Finland 

Notice a trend? Btw, not to distract from the point of where I’m going but Russia now ranks ahead of the US in grade school education outcomes. Anyway, the biggest difference in what these Asian countries are doing (aside from longer school weeks), is skills assessment prior to our equivalent of high school to help determine an educational path matched with one’s skills prior to completing grade school.  

I’ve always been a big believer in playing people to their strengths and Asian countries have been proving for decades that it works. Florida would be wise to consider similar initiatives. Why have one size fit all requirements for all students rather than curriculum's based around the skill sets of the students that can help position them for what’s next in life? One of the biggest misses in my view in our education establishments is the realization that education’s number one objective should be to position students for what’s next in life. Whatever that might mean to a given student. 

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