Governor Scott signs education law SB 1076, scales back minimum requirements, eases graduation

Critics say law weakens workforce

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - The standards for a high school diploma were just made easier with the passage of a new Florida law.

Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1076 into law on Monday, making it easier for students to graduate from high school.

Supporters and Governor Scott said by rolling back tougher requirements, the new law will improve graduation rates.

"Great. How's that going to help anybody? I mean you have to set the bar high and give children something to aspire to," said Lorelei Harrison, a grandparent who was picking her grandson from Forest Hill High School.

Harrison, whose grandson Amir Durham is just weeks away from graduation, is frustrated about the new law which scales back tougher standards put in place back in 2010.

"If people are less prepared, when they get older to run the country, you're like lessening what people can do," said Amir Durham, a Forest Hill High School senior.

Under the new law, students will not have to take tougher math classes like Algebra II. High-level science courses like chemistry and physics are also no longer a requirement. Students will also not have to pass end-of-course tests in biology and geometry.

"I don't think it's just Math and Science that we have to prepare for," said Toby Chabon-Berger, a professional career counselor.

Chabon-Berger, who helps students prepare for life after high school, admits Florida already does not have the highest standards. But she does not think the law will water down the workforce or set students back immediately 

"There needs to be more emphasis on the assessment and how to I get to be where I want to be," said Chabon-Berger.

Chabon-Berger thinks parents should worry more about what career their child is interested in rather than graduation standards.

Grandparent Lorelei Harrison agrees with that sentiment and feels parents need to be more involved in the education of their children.

"You have to demand that your children get certain things. Otherwise if it's not working for them, everybody loses," said Harrison.

Florida Senator Jeff Clemens was one-of-seven who voted against the law. He said parents who are concerned should contact their elected officials to leave the system alone for a few years.

Clemens believes the annual bills that make major changes just confuse everyone involved.

To contact your local state senator about the changes, click here.

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