Tougher days are coming

Published 5:59 pm Saturday, March 5, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Changes are coming forth for many high schools, including those in Michigan.
A coalition of 13 states including Michigan, has proposed a plan that would require tougher high school courses, as well as diploma requirements.
The changes could effect about one in three students in the schools today.
The states who are participating in this coalition have made it their priority to raise the toughness of their high school classes and tests. They also want to match their graduation standards with what employers and colleges are looking for.
Perkins added, "It's a good plan, and it could be tailored to the students on an individual basis, which is great."
According to news sources these changes would require quite a bit of time and legislative and political work, as the teachers, unions, parents, and school boards would all be affected by this sort of change.
Rider added that right now there are some mixed messages in terms of some of the things the coalition would like the states to do would cost more money, but districts are being asked to cut their budgets.
The states who are participating in the coalition are Michigan, Indiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.
The network is really trying to enforce the American Diploma Project, which was launched sometime last year to prepare high school students for work that is college level.
The program calls for changes in high schools that are really quite big. It would require all of the students to take rigorous math and English no matter what their career plans are, and they would also like to tailor high school exit exams to college admissions standards.
States would still have the option to adopt what they would like, but on the other hand they have agreed on key points such as requiring the students to take a test of their readiness for college work.
The states who are participating in this project serve an estimated five million high school students, which is about 35 percent of the public high school population in the United States, according to news sources.
The key points that American Diploma Project really stresses are to align high schools in the 13 participating states tests and standards with the skills that are required in college and the workplace.
The requirement that all students take a test to see how ready they are for college or work, will let them get the help they need in school.
It also would require that all students take core curriculum that prepares them for the future
And it would hold high schools and colleges more accountable for their graduating students.