The Florida Senate has approved a bill that would alter graduation requirements by creating more options for students to earn standard high school diplomas that focus on career and technical education.
It would also allow options for students to graduate without taking Algebra 2, a change from current state requirements.
Senate Bill 1076 was approved in a 33-7 vote on April 10. It directs the Florida board of education to create additional pathways for students to earn diplomas, with a focus on industry certifications.
Backers of the bill said that the changes would give more students flexibility, while also meeting the workforce needs of the state’s economy.
The legislation says such industry certifications could replace some academic requirements for students, including Algebra 2. The debate mirrors the one in Texas, where lawmakers are considering dropping the Algebra 2 test as a graduation prerequisite, despite arguments from the business community there that scaling back such a requirement hurts students’ labor-force readiness and the state’s economic competitiveness.
The bill also requires financial literacy to be included in graduation requirements, and compels the state to develop a list of industry certifications for which school districts’ workforce programs can receive funding.
A version of this article appeared in the April 17, 2013 edition of Education Week as Florida May Alter Graduation Requirements