Rocky Hanna’s comments reported at School Zone

The comments of Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna, who argued against the increased math and science expectation in SB 4 by saying that if chemistry had been required for high school graduation when he was a student that he would not have graduated, have been picked up by Leslie Postal at the Orlando Sentinel education blog School Zone.  Postal also noted that Hanna claimed to be speaking for all of Leon County’s high school principals in arguing against the legislation.

Postal also noted that 65% of Florida’s 2009 high school graduates had passed chemistry.

Of course, Hanna was making a valid point, even if he was doing it badly.  In a state where the high school graduation rate is a serious concern, raising graduation requirements should spark some anxiety.  But by choosing to say what he did, Hanna undermined his own argument.  He demonstrated that the legislature must step in to demand excellence because the educational establishment will not do so on its own.

If the leadership of Leon County Schools doesn’t believe that increased requirements in math and science can be implemented in a constructive way, perhaps they should check with the school districts in Brevard, Duval, Monroe and Polk Counties.  These districts implemented more demanding science expectations a long time ago, and they seem to be doing fine.

Apollo Creed must be laughing his head off.

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6 Responses to Rocky Hanna’s comments reported at School Zone

  1. Rosanne Wood says:

    I was in the Senate hearing and heard what Rocky Hanna said in the minute and a half he was allowed to speak. He clearly supported increasing the requirements for Bright Futures scholarships and for “College and Career Ready Diplomas”. His point was that there are many successful people who did not necessarily excel in math and science and they don’t deserve to be pushed out of high school, which is what the currently proposed legislation does. It is easy to make light of someone’s concerns, however, I suggest walking in the shoes of a high school principal who is trying to help students of ALL abilities succeed.
    Since Polk County is mentioned as a “model”, according to the linked article, notice that they have a provision for their most at risk students- which is exactly what Hanna was proposing. –“perhaps out of concern for pushing down the already problematic graduation rates – Polk County has found an interesting middle ground. While Polk requires only three science courses for graduation, the district requires one to be biology and one to be Earth/space science. The district also requires that students have a background in both physics and chemistry. They can satisfy this requirement by taking a physical science course that includes components of both. However, the composite physical science course is not offered for Honors credit, so students who are concerned about impressing college admissions officers with the rigor of their high school course selection are compelled to take a year of Honors Chemistry and a year of Honors Physics. In short, college-bound students end up taking four science courses – one each in biology, chemistry, physics and Earth/space science. Students at high risk for not completing high school can graduate while taking three science courses – one each in biology, Earth/space science and physical science.”

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