Governor Phil Bredesen today heralded Tennessee's progress in education with the passage of elevated graduation requirements and improved standards by the State Board of Education. Tennessee officially adopted more rigorous high school graduation requirements at the board's quarterly meeting. The board also approved new math, science and English standards, which have been revised to be more competitive at a national level.
"Today's vote solidifies the work of the past year of raising education standards to more adequately prepare Tennessee students for 21st century success," Governor Bredesen said. "These improvements are essential stepping stones to Tennessee's students possessing the knowledge and skills to be at the top of their chosen professions. Adequately educating our young people is, and always should be, Tennessee's top priority."
"Students perform according to the expectations set for them. Raising the bar shows students we know they are capable of exceptional achievements," Education Commissioner Lana Seivers said. "While change is often unsettling for adults, our students will certainly rise to the challenge."
The new graduation requirements have been dubbed The Ready Core' and increase the number of credits needed to graduate to 22 for all students. Students must earn an additional credit in math, an additional half credit in health/P.E./Wellness, an additional half credit in personal finance, and an additional six credits specific to the students' planned course of study. The new requirements will go into effect for the graduating class of 2013.
Tennessee received high marks on its first National Quality Review of the revised standards in October. The new standards are part the Tennessee Diploma Project, the state's work to align academic standards and student testing with post-secondary and workplace expectations. They were designed in accordance with guidance from Achieve, Inc.; the National Assessment of Educational Progress; and ACT college readiness benchmarks.
Since 2005, the Department of Education has been working with the Board of Education on redesigning Tennessee's high schools according to what 21st century students should know upon graduation to succeed in higher education and the workplace. The resulting High School Transition Policy, which also addresses middle school reform, aims to improve academic achievement for all students.
For more information, contact Rachel Woods at (615) 253-1960 or Rachel.Woods@state.tn.us.