From an op-ed by Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna in the February 14 Tallahassee Democrat:
Over the last several years, graduation mandates in our state have become much more rigorous through the increasing number and level of math and science courses required to graduate, including Algebra I, geometry and biology. Now, before we even know the effect those changes alone will have on graduation rates, we find ourselves faced with Senate Bill 4. Passed in 2010, this bill added Algebra II and chemistry or physics to the list of requirements for the incoming classes of 2012 and 2013.
This is where I, and many of my colleagues, believe we have gone too far.
Realistically, not all students are or should be preparing to enter a four-year college or university upon graduation. A large number of them enroll in community colleges, enter vocational programs, join the military or go directly into the workforce. Without even a basic high-school diploma, most of these options would not be possible.
From the “report brief” released with the National Research Council K-12 Science Education Framework. The first public draft of the “Next Generation Science Standards” based on the framework will be released by Achieve this spring:
Science, engineering, and technology permeate every aspect of modern life. Some knowledge of science and engineering is required to understand and participate in many major public policy issues of today, as well as to make informed everyday decisions, such as selecting among alternate medical treatments or determining whether to buy an energy-efficient furnace.
By the end of the 12th grade, students should have sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on science-related issues, to be critical consumers of scientific information related to their everyday lives, and to be able to continue to learn about science throughout their lives. They should recognize that our current scientific understanding of the world is the result of hundreds of years of creative human endeavor. And these are goals for all of the nation’s students, not just those who pursue higher education or careers in science, engineering, or technology.