Bethel Park should lower graduation requirements

Published Jan 30, 2013 at 10:52 am (Updated Jan 30, 2013 at 10:52 am)

Bethel Park School District is considering lowering graduation requirements from 27 credits. Currently, administrators have not set a number by which to lower the credit requirement, though the state’s minimum is 21. Of course, students will indeed have the option to surpass whatever the requirement becomes. The proposal has a lot of parents up in arms and wanting more information – the most recent school board meeting about this was standing room only.

We see nothing wrong with lowering the standards. When students graduate, they have a number of higher education options, ranging from trade schools to community colleges to universities that have a number of different admission requirements – because not every student was created equal. Sure, some students will have no problems meeting and exceeding the requirements, but what about the students who perform at a lower level, those with learning disabilities or those who take a vocational track?

No one is suggesting cutting core academic classes. Rather, it would be the electives that end up being phased out by the students themselves – currently, students fill seven and a half credits with electives. We are willing to bet that this means that many students end up taking classes that they are not interested in, nor do they really need, because they don’t have any other choice. Obviously this will be a cost-cutting measure for the district, whose 2013-2014 preliminary budget comes in at $3 million more than the current school year’s, and needs to be reduced. But, money is far from the only reason that this discussion is on the table.

These days, high school is not a straight, four-year, in-classroom curriculum. Students participate in work study programs, internships, apprenticeships and mentorship programs, all of which will prepare them for post-graduation plans.

It seems like the school board has the right idea, and parents need to come on board. After all, education is not a one-size-fits-all concept.

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