April 4, 2005
IBHE SUPPORTS HIGHER STANDARDS, BETTER SCHOOLS PLAN
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.