By JOSEPH HAMRICK
The decision by the State Board of Education to drop the Algebra II requirement for high school students to graduate will give school districts more flexibility in preparing curriculum for career and technology fields, according to Greenville Independent School District Superintendent Don Jefferies.
Along with removing the Algebra II requirement, the state also cut the amount of standardized tests students are required to take from 15 to five.
Jefferies said the recent ruling falls directly in line with a push the district has been making to provide tailored classes for students wishing to graduate with a certificate in a career field directly from high school.
“I think it’s a good move,” Jefferies said, adding that each student at Greenville High School is different, so the district needs to adapt to better suit their needs. “Basically what you’re going to have is classes that are tailored toward [the student’s] field. Not all kids are cut out to do the same things.”
Students will still need to replace the Algebra II class with another math-oriented class in order to graduate.
Jefferies said this will allow students to take math courses that are in-line with their career field, including math courses that could be applied to welding or computer engineering.
“We’ve got a great opportunity because of the changes to increase our career and technology programs,” he said.
Although the requirement was dropped from the general student body, Jefferies said it is still required for students who want to graduate with a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) endorsement, or want to graduate with a distinguished level of achievement.
“The strong, college-bound student will still take Algebra II,” he said.
The district has been meeting with business leaders across Hunt County to get input from them so students who graduate from GHS who do not attend college, can begin working in their career field directly from high school.
“Across the state, we need to graduate more students with employable skills,” he said, adding it will also help bolster GHS’ graduation rate. “That’s what we want: to graduate kids who are employable.”