West Virginia agency wants to trim graduation requirements

West Virginia
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Board of Education is once again trying to reduce high school graduation requirements.

News outlets report the board voted Wednesday to open two proposals to public comment until Jan. 24. One such proposal involves lessening the number of social studies credits required to graduate. It would essentially require students study all of U.S. history in one course instead of two and reduces the number of required social students credits from four to three.

The policy was previously proposed and abandoned after officials said public comments were overwhelming against the change. The board and Department of Education have pushed for the single course known as U.S. Studies Comprehensive since at least 2016. Previously, students had to take a course that covered U.S. history up to World War I and then another course that covered material left out of that course.

“What we found in our social studies curriculum is, we teach the same concepts a couple of different times in the sequence of courses,” schools Superintendent Steve Paine said Wednesday.

The proposal also would nix the current requirement that students take a world studies course and would allow students to take other social studies classes to replace the currently required civics course. The same proposal would also stop requiring counties to offer economics and geography, in addition to offering the two courses summarized in U.S. Studies Comprehensive.

The other proposal requires middle schools to offer career exploration opportunities, including courses, field trips, mentors and guest speakers. It also would require full-time virtual school programs be offered for grades 6 through 12.

Exposing students to career and technical education in high school won’t be enough to “fill the pipeline” with the level of skilled workers needed in the state, said David Perry, the president of the state Board of Education.

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