The state's top school leaders are pushing ahead with a landmark change in high school graduation requirements for Regents history exams, amid protests by social studies teachers and their allies that it weakens academic scholarship and students' grounding in world and national events.
Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the state's Board of Regents, said Thursday that the policymaking group will vote Monday on the proposal known as "alternative pathways" to high school diplomas.
One of the plan's provisions would allow students to waive taking one of two Regents exams -- U.S. history or global history -- in exchange for completing a sequence of technical or occupational courses that culminate in a practical-skills test....State education officials said most students probably would opt for skipping the global history exam.
Students still would be required to complete courses in both U.S. and global history, even if they later chose to waive one of the exams.The change would be a major shift in state policy, first established in 1995. That year, state school leaders set the goal of having students pass Regents exams in five subjects: English, math, science and the two history courses.Federal law requires assessments in English, math and science, leaving only the history exams subject to potential waivers.
I'm in favor of career and vocational training in high schools.
I'm glad the Regents are coming back around to emphasizing career and vocational training.
But I also know that educrats only value subjects that get tested by the state.
With the Regents set to let students waive one of the two social studies exams currently required by the state, they are making a value statement about social studies.
Which is to say, they value the subject a lot less than ELA, math and science.
That should make you feel good if you're a social studies teacher.
You and your chosen subject expertise are no longer as valuable as they used to be - at least in the eyes of the Board of Regents.