Harder graduation requirements for FL students

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WFLX) - Graduating from high school in Florida just got a lot harder. New requirements, just signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist, add more difficult math and science courses for students.

The new required subjects are algebra 2, geometry, biology and chemistry or physics -- none of which is currently required. Students will also have to pass end-of-year exams that will replace the current FCAT tests.

The changes will be phased in gradually starting with next year's freshman class.

At Suncoast High, a magnet school in Riviera Beach, students already have to take those classes -- even kids in non-accelerated programs. Administrators say most students rise to the occasion, but often with help.

The school has extensive tutoring programs, and principal Linda Cartlidge says it's critical for students to see the big picture and have an "end" in mind. "It shouldn't be just for the state test," said Cartlidge. "It shouldn't be just to graduate. It should be because, 'I want to be this in the future. I've got a focus. I've found my passion.'"

Cartlidge says finding enough chemistry and physics teachers could present a challenge.  Others expect added costs for hiring the teachers and paying for tutoring.