The Kentucky Department of Education recently announced it will be seeking public feed back on the new minimum high school graduation requirements at four locations throughout the state. On Oct. 30, Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne D. Lewis and KDE representatives will be at Hopkinsville Community College for a town-hall style forum.

Kentucky has one of the highest graduation rates in the country, Lewis wrote in an April 20, 2019 blog post on educationpolicymatters.com.

“While we are proud of fact that we are graduating record numbers and percentages of Kentucky high school students, we are not satisfied with the postsecondary and workforce outcomes of our high school graduates,” he wrote.

According to the KDE website, the new minimum graduation requirements do not began school before the first day of the 2018-19 school year.

Graduation requirements will differ for students who entered high school during the current school year and for those entering the 2020-21 school year.

Current high-school freshmen must complete 22 “personalized credits” before graduation.

Those include:

* English I and II, and two additional English Language Arts credits.

* Aligned with the student’s Individual Learning Plan.

* Algebra I and Geometry, and two additional Mathematics credits.

* Three Social Studies credits with at least one aligned with the student’s ILP.

* Three credits Science also with at least one aligned with the student’s ILP.

* 1/2 credit Health.

* 1/2 credit Physical Education.

* One credit Visual and Performing Arts.

* And six additional credits aligned with the student’s ILP.

Current freshmen must also complete one of eight graduation qualifiers. According to the KDE website, education.ky.gov, those qualifiers “help ensure graduates are prepared for what comes after high school.

Those qualifiers include earning at least three postsecondary and complete one class and corresponding test in a college-level curricula. The full list can be found on the KDE website.

Students who begin their high-school education in the 2020-21 school year will be under the same personalized credit system, but will have an added hurdle before graduating.

Those students will need to meet a “graduation prerequisite” before donning the cap and gown. The prerequisite will require students to “demonstrate basic competency in reading and math in one of three ways before graduation,” according to KDE.

One way to meet the prerequisite is for a student to score at least at the Apprentice level in reading and mathematics on the 10th grade state required assessments. Students who do not meet that score may retake one or both assessments twice each year during their junior and senior years.

The second way to meet the prerequisite is to score at least a Proficient on the eighth grade state required assessment for reading or mathematics.

The final way to meet the prerequisite is to complete a “collection of evidence” that includes a student’s ILP, performance on required state tests, appropriate interventions that show that adequate support was given to the student, work demonstrating the student’s competency in reading or mathematics, post high school plans and individual education program — if applicable.

Students will also be required to pass a 100-question civics exam, receive instructions in financial literacy and demonstrate competency in essential skills and technology, according to KDE.

In April, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence came out strongly against the exit exams included in the graduation requirements.

“This is a critical discussion that has bearing on Kentucky’s ability to deliver on the promise of full college and career preparation for every student,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, executive director of the Prichard Committee at that time.

The town hall forum will be held from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Hopkinsville Community College, 720 North Drive, Hopkinsville. An online forum will also be held at a later date for residents who will not be able to attend in person.

MORE INFO BOX

For more information about the online forum, KDE asks that residents fill out an online form at forms.gle/Ze8LP6PFnE84gjEk7.

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