Aided and abetted by the Kentucky State Board of Education, the Jefferson County Public Schools board has set a new, illogical low.
The Courier-Journal reports that last week the Jefferson County school board approved a really unfair plan to comply with new, poorly crafted state math requirements.
The problem actually starts with the Kentucky Board of Education’s new regulation. It requires all public high school students in Kentucky to take a math course each year; but, incredibly, it doesn’t say the kids have to pass all four years of math. Students are only required to pass three courses: algebra I, algebra II and geometry. There is no requirement to actually pass the fourth year of math.
In fact, there isn’t even a requirement for that fourth year to be spent taking a different math course. It’s a loophole loaded, poorly thought out regulation just begging for abuse. And, abused it was in the hands of the Jefferson County’s school board.
Under Jefferson County’s new plan, high performing kids who have already passed the required algebra and geometry courses in lower grades could still be denied a diploma if they don’t pass a fairly demanding fourth-year course like calculus.
Meanwhile, other, very weak students can flunk a math course, repeat it, and still get a diploma. So long as those weak kids eventually pass the three specifically required courses, they get their paper. They get a diploma even though their fourth year of math was a remedial year in one of the three required courses, not a different math subject.
Talk about creating inducements for smart kids to lowball their high school math programs! Will top performing students want to take a chance on a course like calculus if flunking it will cost them a diploma?
One must wonder what the school board was thinking when they decreed a student who passed the three required courses and then flunked a higher level course would get no diploma while another kid who flunked a much lower level course, but did pass the three required courses, would graduate.
Talk about unfair! What was this board thinking?