Bill increasing math, science requirements goes to Wis. gov

Bill increasing math, science requirements goes to Wis. gov

Wisconsin high school students would have to complete both an additional math and science units to graduate under legislation sent late last week to Gov. Scott Walker

Senate Bill 51 increases from two to three the number of math and science courses a student must successfully complete in order to meet state graduation requirements.

Under terms of the bill, a state-approved computer science class would count for one of the required math courses while state-approved agriculture classes could satisfy the science requirements.

A student focusing on a career technical education program could earn one math or one science credit for successfully completing a CTE course determined by the school board to satisfy a math and/or science requirement.

“Based on college remediation rates and what we hear from employers, too many of our students are not graduating high school with an expected mastery of math and science concepts,” Jennifer Kammerud, a lobbyist for the state’s Department of Public Instruction, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The proposal comes as the state’s school districts are implementing more rigorous academic requirements – including Common Core State Standards – and it would also bring Wisconsin more in line with other states.

Currently, Wisconsin has some of the lowest graduation requirements in the country, mandating that students need only two years of math and two years of science to get a diploma. By comparison, students need four years of English to graduate. Many other states require at least three years of science and some require four years of math.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 45 percent of districts in the state require more than the state minimum credit requirements in math; only 37 percent require more than the state’s minimum credit requirements in science, the newspaper also reported.

Wisconsin adopted Common Core State Standards in 2010 but a national wave of protest over the new standards led the legislature this year to convene a select committee to review them. The panel completed its fourth public meeting late last month, hearing from both opponents of the standards as well as a large contingent of school administrators and teachers who support the transition.