Rural Schools Affected by New FL Requirements

Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd
Freddie Thomas, a Navy veteran who serves as a mentor at Lorraine Elementary School, helps fourth-grader Thairiq Sams with multiplication and fractions Wednesday morning before the upcoming CRCT. For the past three years, Thomas has volunteered at the school for several hours for a few days each week to help students in all subjects and in other areas of their lives.

The new bill that Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed Tuesday will make it tougher for students to graduate.

School officials say it will also make it tougher for administrators in our rural districts.

School officials say adding more requirements to high school students means you have to have faculty on staff who can teach those more advanced courses, which, of course, is the hard part, they say.

Senate Bill 4 adds geometry, algebra II, biology, chemistry and physics to the list of required courses for Florida High School students.

Educators say it may be very difficult for many smaller, rural districts because most don't have teachers who are certified in those advanced areas.

Taylor County High School Principal Michael Thompson said, "That test is, needless to say, not the easiest test to pass. Most peop0le who major in physics or major in chemistry with a physics background, they're not going to a small district to get hired because they can make money some place else. It's going to be hard."

Principal Thomspson says before their certified instructor, Ms. Campbell, passed the physics exam last year, it had been five years since having a teacher with that training at Taylor County High.

Thompson says his school is one of the luckier of the small districts.

He says SB 4 won't really affect TCHS because he says they'd been preparing for this change for a while.

Thompson says TCHS already offers AP Calculus and AP Chemistry, and says next year, he's adding Biology, American History, and Psycology as AP courses.

The education bill will also eliminate the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (F-CAT) for high school math and science and replace it with end-of-course exams.

The requirements would be phased in beginning this fall through the 2014-15 school year for entering freshmen.



 
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