State requires freshmen to earn Core 40

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By: Tim Chai <tchai@hilite.org>

Beginning with the Class of ’11, students are required to graduate with Indiana’s Core 40 diploma, and legistlation also made that diploma the minimum college admissions requirement for the state’s public four-year universities.

And while this new rule may have a larger impact elsewhere, freshman counselor Rachel Cole said that most of CHS students won’t notice any changes.

“Most of CHS’s student population is on the Core 40 track or on a higher track. Nothing is really changing here too much. The state took away the general diploma option,” Cole said. “However, most of our students received the Core 40 or Academic Honors (diplomas) anyway.”

Last year, according to statistics provided by www.learnmoreindiana.org, more than 66 percent of Hoosier students graduated with a Core 40 or higher diploma. And, according to Cole, the overwhelming majority of students she has worked with at this school are on that track.

Freshman Aaron Singer said, “No one (in our class) really cares. The counselors gave us numerous presentations over the new regulations in middle school. I didn’t hear any groans or complaints from my classmates.”

Another freshman student, Greg Tracy, said he agreed with Singer. “Really, students should be on at least the (Core 40 diploma) track,” he said. “Yeah, the standards are set higher, but there is no reason for the students not to be able to meet them.”

Core 40 diploma requirements were designed by Indiana’s business, labor, industry, K-12 and higher education communities to provide a solid academic foundation for success at college and beyond. According to the Indiana Department of Education, students who take strong academic courses in high school are far more likely to enroll in college and graduate. Cole said that the only difference in the Core 40 diploma as compared to the general diploma is an extra requirement of two additional math and science credits. Even before the regulation, she said that the school’s counselors advised students to take those extra classes anyway.

However, according to Cole, some students may have trouble passing some courses like Algebra II. “Just rise to the challenge if it is a course that is going to challenge you academically,” she said. “Our teachers can assist in getting you through it if you put in the effort and time that is necessary for your success.”

Cole said that some students may have to give up an elective during their junior or senior years to meet diploma requirements. According to Singer, while he would like to take more photography and photojournalism courses, he would much rather graduate with a better diploma.

“This is new for the entire state, and all schools will have to adjust,” Cole said. “Ultimately, the new legislation will create more well-rounded students.

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