BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, March 02, 2012
3/02/12 at 4:12 AM
The House Appropriations and Budget Committee on Wednesday passed and sent to the full House a bill that would allow high school seniors to graduate if they passed all of the required course work, regardless of how they performed on a bank of end-of-instruction tests.
Rep. Fred Jordan, R-Jenks, author of House Bill 2755, made a simple and strong point in favor of the measure: The state imposed the add-on test requirements, which become effective with the class of 2012 and then failed to adequately fund remedial classes and other programs needed to help students pass the tests.
"I believe it is fundamentally unfair to have a student who has fully completed and passed the entire high school curriculum to not receive the diploma they have earned," Jordan said.
A number of high school students whose life prospects will be hurt by the requirement visited the Capitol Wednesday in support of Jordan's bill. They are seniors who met all requirements in a college-prep curriculum, some with B-plus grade averages, but who will not graduate because they did not pass four of seven end-of-instruction tests in Algebra I and II, English II and III, Biology I, geometry and U.S. history.
The fact that these students - good students - will not be handed a diploma on graduation day means they will not be able to enroll in college (apparently even if they scored high enough on the ACT or SAT college entrance exams), enlist in the military or get jobs that require a high school education.
Advocates of the end-of-instruction tests, including state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, claim that they will give Oklahoma diplomas value and ensure academic rigor in the state's school districts.
That's fine in theory but in reality it will create a class of young people who have met all the traditional requirements for high school graduation, some of them with very good grades, but who will have nothing to show for it. What are we to do with those young people, whose futures have been so limited?
HB 2755 ought to be approved by the Legislature.