Not a fan of equations and formulas? Be prepared. Educators at local and state levels are close to increasing the math requirements for high school graduation.
Last year, education and business leaders on Gov. Janet Napolitano’s P-20 Council called for requiring four years of math and three years of science.
The State Board of Education is poised to enforce those changes starting as early as the next school year, first impacting the Class of 2013. The state currently requires two years of math and science.
The board meets Wednesday for the last public hearing on the matter.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne says he supports the proposal because “the job market is changing and students need to be prepared.”
Horne has previously spoken out against raising math requirements, saying it could cause more students to drop out of high school.
On Thursday, however, Horne said he supports the measure because it will include safety nets, such as special classes for at-risk students.
Some local school boards aren’t waiting for the state to make changes.
“Things at a statewide level could take years to implement,” said Mesa board member Rich Crandall. “We thought, let’s take (some of the recommendations) and not wait for anybody.”
The Mesa Unified School District board will vote on increasing high school math requirements from two to three years as early as late November. The board is holding two public forums this month to gather parent input.
A majority of students already take three years of math, said Suzy DePrez, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
“The change that we’re proposing will have a pretty small effect,” she said.
But requiring four years — as the state wants to do — “would be a different story,” she added.
DePrez agrees that four years of math would be beneficial to students but “the timeline and implementation is something we need to address.”
Greg Wyman, superintendent of the Apache Junction Unified School District, proposed requiring four years of math last year. But the district’s governing board tabled the measure. The district currently requires three years of math and science for graduation.
“If you raise the level of expectation for kids, kids will rise to that level,” Wyman said.
Mesa Unified School District meetings on requiring three years of math for high school graduation:
• 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 8 at the Brimhall Junior High Auditorium, 4949 E. Southern Ave., Mesa
• 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 22, District Board Room, 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa
State Board of Education public hearing:
• 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 in Room 417, 1535 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix