The Alabama Board of Education took a step forward Thursday toward changing its high school graduation requirements.
The Board voted 6 to 3 to initiate a 45-day public comment period. This concerns the intention to require every student graduating from high school to earn at least one of her college and career preparation credits. The only current requirement is for the student to complete her 24 credits.
Gov. Kay Ivey said the move was necessary to “bridge the gap” between the graduation rate and the rate of college and career ready students.
“In the 2020 and 2021 classes, Alabama had a 92% graduation rate. College and career readiness was 76%. workers need to prepare for tomorrow’s jobs,” said Ivey.
If the changes are finally adopted, they will apply to classes in 2028 and beyond. He said it could take longer if the concerns persisted, but said the changes would have to be finalized in the spring for the policy to be put in place before classes plunge into first grade.
Several board members questioned whether the additional requirements could adversely affect struggling students.
Wild Boar member Tonya Chestnut said the chances of earning credit are not even across the state’s school system.
“Are there any plans to provide resources and more offerings so that children can have similar experiences regardless of what zip code they live in?” Bell asked.
Board members Jackie Ziegler and Belinda McRae joined Bell in voting against the motion after raising similar concerns.
According to Mackey, there are 150 different credentials that the school system can pull to ensure that students graduate with at least one credit.
“I am confident that by 2028, all graduates from all schools will have a college diploma and career-ready status. ,” said Mackey. “This is clearly a concern. Today, with a graduation rate of 92% and a CCR rate of 44%, if you say, ‘All graduates must have a CCR,’ they say, ‘Well, my graduation rate is 44%.Percentage.’ I believe schools will do their part to ensure that all students receive a CCR by 2028.”
If the new rules are finally approved, there are multiple different eligible credits that will count towards graduation.
- ACT College Admissions Benchmark Scores,
- Advanced Placement exam eligibility score,
- International Baccalaureate qualification score,
- Earn college credits while in high school
- A qualifying score on the ACT WorkKeys test,
- youth apprenticeships in qualified schools,
- career technical qualifications,
- acceptance into the military before graduation,
- Earn career and technical education graduate status, or
- College and Career Readiness Index approved by the State Board of Education.