Florida Gov. Rick Scott talks with a group of teachers in September at Fort Walton Beach High School in Fort Walton Beach as part of his Education Listening tour of the state. Photo by Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping education bill that rolls back graduation standards adopted just three years ago.
The comprehensive bill which would also let the University of Florida take the lead in online education in the state. The state's most prestigious university would gain the right to offer bachelor degrees completely online.
Three years ago legislators raised the state's graduation requirements, adding tougher courses in math such as Algebra II and science courses such as chemistry and physics.
"Not every kid is suited for college," said Jacksonville mother Patty Hogue who had three children who attended Duval County schools.
She applauded lawmakers for recognizing that not all young people are college bound.
"Not every child has the tools or ability to go to college. There are kids who just want to go out in the working world," said Hogue.
The new bill would remove the advance course requirements and instead students would be allowed to take career education courses. College-bound students could opt to take tougher courses and earn a high school diploma that includes a "scholar" designation.
"Move away from a one size fits all type of diploma," said Duval County superintendent Nikolai Vitti is good for education. Vitti joined other superintendents in pushing for the graduation changes. He feared more young people would drop out of school if the graduation requirements were not changed.
Now students will be able to graduate by only take Algebra I. Schools are also working to develop career education classes that include internships and more opportunities for industry certification.