Graduating in Three Years: Are You Cheating Yourself?

A new law aims to push students out of Florida's classrooms by allowing them to graduate in three years. Some parents and administrators are asking, "Are those students really prepared to leave?"

The law allows kids the option of graduating high school with fewer credits than before, besides not being prepared, some fear this option is motivated by Amendment 1 to reduce class sizes.

For the last 18 years, Teri Gimbel has guided students through their high school careers. As a guidance counselor, she's seen countless numbers of students come and go, but a new law could make the stay a bit shorter for some. The new law gives kids the option of graduating in three years with 18 credits, rather than the traditional four years and 24 credits.

Some fear of this idea of skipping the senior year is driven by the pressure to reduce class size, which Florida voters approved last year. State education officials validate the new graduation law saying it's customized for individual students because we don't live in a one size fits all society.

Guidance counselor Teri Gimbel agrees, but still fears the that law will have students reaching for the minimum requirements in a world full of others reaching for the stars.

"In our state university because of the number of applicants they have, FSU has 25 thousand, they don't have to accept the minimum. They can't, they have too many top quality students," says Teri.

State officials say the law is meant for mature students and is a family based option, not one the student will make alone. The law just effect July 1, so this is the first school year with the changes being an options. Districts are just now starting to go over the option and it will be some time before any real numbers come out.