By Elly Weinstock, University High School Wildcat from my.hsj.org | http://bit.ly/IeP4p5
my high school journalism
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 :: LAUSD’s new plan to increase the graduation rate amongst high school students involves dropping the credits requirement by 25%. Currently, students must earn 230 credits by the end of high school; the new system would allow students to graduate with a mere 170.
Health, Life Skills, and Technology classes may be some of the first that will be cut from the list of requirements. Former Senior District Official Sharon Robinson is outraged, “I know of no other school district in California that is reducing graduation requirements by 60 units and calling it an improvement.”
District officials have voiced their concerns about the pace of progress in schools; certain classes just aren’t considered necessary. However, cutting the requirements for Health or Life Skills classes could not possibly be beneficial. High school should be about more than getting the credits, test preparation, and skills to graduate and get into college; it should be about enjoying school, as well. If LAUSD wants well-rounded, happy students, the district should reconsider this decision.
Many of the Health classes in LAUSD have enlightened kids on birth control, pregnancy risks, and drug abuse. Cutting these programs would only open the door for the return of ignorance. “I think the requirements are fine right now,” says Junior Yali Bitan. “I mean no matter where you set the bar, you’re going to have students who slack off and don’t pass classes. Changing the credit requirement doesn’t help. You have to change how students think.”
It’s not to say the concerns are not legitimate. According to the LA Times, a mere 15% of graduates in the Los Angeles Unified School District last year qualified for entrance to the UCs and State Universities.
Yet while the intentions of the district may be in the favor of students, the outcome will not be favorable. Students need to understand that passing classes is important, and that the standards will not be lowered because they cannot achieve the minimum grade in a class to get the credits.
It would be much more helpful to prepare students for high school before they start, instead of showing them that they can take the easy way out and still graduate. The district should definitely focus on a plan to help ease students into more rigorous academics early on, instead of spending time cutting the requirements and standards.