Monday, September 09, 2019
Stop Dumbing Down The High School Diploma Requirements
For the last decade New York State Education Department (NYSED) has weakened the requirements for achieving a high school diploma. Since 1995 NYS Regents was the "gold standard" that showed if high school seniors were academically proficient to succeed in college and the workplace. However, under political pressure to graduate more students and reduce the racial achievement gap, the NYSED has dumbed down the Regents by grading the gateway Regents of Living Environment (known as Biology lite) and Algebra on a curve that makes the passing rate as low as 29 correct answers to pass, rather than the 65 that was the case in the 1990's.
Despite the dumbing down of the Regents and the curve to get more New York State students to pass, only 38% were considered "college ready". By contrast, the State graduation rate has risen every year and was 80% as of 2018. What happened to the 42% who graduated high school but were not college ready? They were required to take no-credit and expensive remedial courses in colleges and few ended up with a 4-year college degree.
Now it seems the NYSED wants to dumb down the Regents testing requirements even more and approve alternate academic ways for high school students to legitimately graduate. New York State has had the Regents for high school students since 1865 and if there is no push back, the Regents will become optional and only for the academically proficient high school student.,
Some educators suspect that the elimination and weakening of the Regents testing requirements is due not only by political pressure to pass more students but the cost of developing and printing the Regents exams. Moreover,the educational materials associated with those exams plays into the NYSED''s approving the downsizing the Regents exams. This "education on the cheap" policy only weakens New York State's reputation for academic excellence.
Will the Board of Regents continue to weaken the Regents testing equirements? Only time will tell.