By Katherine Quiros | Journalism 1
The Texas State Board of Education voted to change the requirements to graduate starting with the class of 2018 on Jan. 31 in Austin. Algebra 2 is no longer required for graduation for those students who don’t plan to go on to higher education, and speech is not a required credit for graduation for the eighth graders and below.
The new changes still require Algebra 2 for automatic admission to Texas public universities with the top 10 percent law, or for someone who plans to major in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
RISD didn’t adopt the changes of dropping Algebra 2 and a fourth year of social studies because they want to push students beyond the state requirements. They also added half a credit of technology and health that is not required by the state.
“RISD is keeping Algebra 2 because they want their students to be prepared,” World Geography teacher Gretchen Kimpel said.
Some students didn’t agree with dropping Algebra 2.
“Algebra 2 is an important class to take because it is one more math class,” freshman Madeleine Via said. “It’s important so you can get better at math with more practice.”
Under the new rules, only 22 credits will be required for graduation instead of the 26 currently required. The minimum plan that requires fewer credits is aimed generally at students who are planning to enter the workforce or a training program after graduation.
According to the Longview News-Journal, the state board had been pressured by some conservative politicians, state Sen. Dan Patrick in particular, to remove the requirement of Algebra 2 because it was causing large numbers of students to drop out before graduating.
“The state board of education made a good decision by dropping Algebra 2 as a requirement, because people were dropping out of high school because of the hard classes and the grades were probably low,” freshman Lindsay Goltz said.
Students also have to choose one of the five pathways for graduation under the new rules. They are called “endorsements” and include arts and humanities, business and industry, public services, multidisciplinary studies and STEM.
Some students thought dropping Speech class wasn’t a good idea.
“I don’t think that they made a good decision by dropping Speech,” Madeleine said. “Even though I had a bad experience in Speech class, other people that didn’t have a background in public speaking might need it.”
Even though a lot of students didn’t enjoy taking Speech class, several did like it.
“I liked speech class because it made me more confident in public speaking,” freshman Madisen Gummer said. “My speech teacher at Parkhill Junior High is one of my favorite teachers ever.”
Other students commented that speech class was not very useful.
“Speech is not the best use of your time,” Lindsay said. “Speech is not as important as other classes to take, and that may be a reason that the state board decided to drop Speech class, because people should be focusing more on their core classes,” Lindsay said.
“We shouldn’t complain that the freshmen next year don’t have to take Speech because the freshmen this year get 10 quality points for AP classes, and the sophomores and higher classes get only eight points, so it is the same thing that happened to the classes above us,” Lindsay said.