What if Meeting College or Career-Ready Standards Was Mandatory to Graduate in Kentucky?
A southern Kentucky school district is exceeding state requirements by requiring all students to meet college or career-ready standards before getting their high school diploma.
The state measures college and career readiness through various tests and credential students can earn. While it’s a large part of Kentucky’s accountability system, it’s not a requirement to graduate statewide. Simpson County Schools Superintendent Jim Flynn says this will be the first year all seniors will be expected to graduate college or be career ready. He says about half of his seniors are already there, based on the ACT college readiness exam they took their junior year. “Every single one of them, we know exactly where they are and what they need. They know exactly where they are and what they need and so we’re working together so we can accomplish that and we think we’ll hit it,” says Flynn. For students who don’t meet the mark, there are safety nets built into the policy, which was adopted by the school board a couple years ago, he says. “They could go out and show their welding skills, do something that benefits the community that proves even though they didn’t hit a benchmark on some kind of standardized test that they can still contribute positively to the community,” he says. Last year only 30 percent of Simpson County students met college and career-ready standards, according to state data. Flynn says he expects that number to jump to 75 percent when results from last school year are released at the end of this week. Flynn says he expects nearly all of his students to meet college and career-ready standards this year, but he is eager to see how the policy plays out. The Bullitt County school district has also passed a similar policy that will begin with seniors graduating in 2015, officials say. (Image via Shutterstock)