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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07

NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: APRIL 5, 2007

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION CONSIDERING REVISIONS TO FUTURE-READY CORE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

After gathering extensive stakeholder input on potential new high school curriculum requirements, the State Board of Education has directed its Globally Competitive Students Committee to consider potential changes to the framework that the Board first approved in December 2006.

Since early February, State Board of Education members have been traveling across North Carolina to host eight regional meetings on the framework, which has come to be known as the Future-Ready Core. The framework is a core of 17 courses Board members had identified as critical to student preparation for the economic and societal demands of the 21st century. In addition to these 17 courses, the Future-Ready Core requires an endorsement of at least four units in one of the following: Career Technical Education, Arts Education, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC), Advanced Placement/Internal Baccalaureate, second language, multidisciplinary or other.

In sending the Core framework to its Globally Competitive Students committee, the Board leadership asked that that the committee look at four issues:
- the appropriate effective date for these changes;
- how the mathematics requirement sequence should be structured and a proposed opt-out policy;
- how second language learning could be effectively addressed in grades K-8, and
- the possibility of adding course requirements for the arts and for Career Technical Education.

These four issues were consistently mentioned by participants in the eight regional meetings and represent primary concerns voiced by education associations and other stakeholder groups.

"We held the regional meetings to hear from our stakeholders, and we are listening to their concerns and ideas," said State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee. "We are especially eager to ensure that the timeline for implementing new high school curriculum requirements is on target. I believe that raising standards for high school is important so that all students are well-prepared for adulthood, but we also have to build in time to prepare teachers and students to meet the higher standards. That is very important to our success."

The original framework approved in December 2006 was scheduled to go into effect with the students entering ninth grade in 2008-09. Board members have been hearing that this timeline is too aggressive for local schools and districts to be ready for success.

The Future Ready Core includes the following items:

  • 4 units of English
  • 4 units of mathematics
  • 3 units of science
  • 3 units of social studies
  • 2 units of a second language
  • 1 unit of health/physical education
  • 4 units in an endorsement area (Career Technical Education, Arts Education, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC), Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate, second language or other).

This course list is nothing new for many students with college or community college aspirations, but for students in the Career Course of Study, it increases the mathematics requirement from three courses to four and adds second languages. For students in the Tech Prep Course of Study, this list would add second language and one math course to their current requirements. The Core raises the number of required courses from 20 to 21 for all students except for Occupational Course of Study students.

The Occupational Course of Study, currently in place for certain students with disabilities, would not be affected at all by these changes. It would continue to be provided for these students.

In addition to the courses required in the Future-Ready Core, students would also have a number of elective courses to choose. The exact number of electives varies depending on the high school schedule and how many potential courses can be taken in a given year. On a block schedule, which is commonly used across North Carolina, students could have as many as 11 more courses to take during their high school career.

The Globally Competitive Students committee of the State Board of Education will meet again on May 1 to consider the Core and potential changes to it.

For more information, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction Communications division, 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communications and Information, 919.807.3450.