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April 4, 2005


SPRINGFIELD - A plan proposed by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to upgrade high school standards to better prepare graduates for the world of work and the rigors of college has the support of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

"The Board has advocated strengthening high school graduation requirements since 2001 when a report of its Committee on Access and Diversity concluded that weak standards were leaving too many students ill-prepared for college and the modern workplace," James Kaplan, Chairman of the Board, said.

"We endorse Governor Blagojevich's effort to raise those standards through this Higher Standards, Better Schools program and believe the plan will pay dividends for students when they reach college or enter the workforce," Kaplan added.

The Board's Access and Diversity Committee found that even though about two-thirds of high school graduates go directly to college, only 40 percent of them had taken a demanding curriculum to ready them for the rigors of college academic life. As a result, nearly a third of entering freshman must enroll in remedial coursework in mathematics, English, or reading. "The Governor's plan to upgrade graduation requirements should alleviate the need for much of the remedial coursework," Kaplan noted.

The plan announced by Blagojevich would require students to complete at least two years of science; three years of math, including algebra and geometry; at least two years of writing in-intensive courses; and English courses in every year of high school. It also calls for assisting schools to expand offerings in agricultural education, music, art, and foreign languages, increase opportunities for Advanced Placement classes, and expand training for vocational students.

"This represents a major step forward to bringing the high school curriculum in line with the demands of our information economy and the expectation for academic achievement in our colleges and universities," Chairman Kaplan said.


Don Sevener



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