If students today want to excel in the future, they need to begin the process now. Indiana ranks next to last in the nation for adults 25 or older with a 2- or 4-year college degree. The need for higher learning standards increase with each technological advancement society achieves.
Indiana's Education Roundtable, created by the Indiana General Assembly in 1999 and signed into law by Gov. Frank O'Bannon, has been addressing the issue of improving student achievement. Its recommendations about high school curriculum standards will be voted upon in February.
"Students who take challenging courses excel more than those that don't," said Superintendent William Schad of Clay Community Schools. "They need to be aware of the changes and the benefits this new standard will bring."
Many of the Roundtable's recommendations have been implemented in Clay County, but more will need to be added to the curriculum during the next school year to allow students the best options for college and financial aid.
The 2009 graduating class will need to complete the Core 40 curriculum requiring students to have a total of 40 state credits. These credits will need to come from classes in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Health, student preferred Electives, Career Academic Sequence (CAS credits are structured class curriculums developed with a specific career goal in mind) and five Flex credits.
Flex credits include Advance Placement (AP) courses, dual high school/college courses, and new areas of Internships and Workforce Certification. AP and dual high school/college courses are now available for local students. But the demand to add more to the curriculum could become a problem since funds from the Gifted and Talented Grant are stretched to the limit now and the corporation's budget is at the maximum it can afford.
Internships and Workforce Certification are the largest area of concern. The idea is for students to receive on-the-job skills and training before college, but many school corporations are waiting for the final decision and clarification of these two requirements by the Roundtable in Feb. 2005 before implementation of any programs.
Completion of Core 40 curriculum is not required by Indiana at this time, but 62 percent of graduates are currently completing the requirements.