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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: JUNE 8, 2007


After many months of discussion, the North Carolina State Board of Education has approved a Future-Ready Core Course of Study that will prepare all students for careers and college learning in the 21st century. Board members unanimously approved the new high school graduation requirements, effective with the ninth grade class of 2009-10.

"The Future-Ready Core will help ensure that students graduate with the academic foundation they need for success in the global economy," State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee said. "The Core gives students the ability to tailor course concentrations to fit their interests and goals – including opportunities for college-level work – while building a strong academic foundation.

The policy approved includes ample elective units for student to customize their high school learning experience to match their plans for the future.

"We look forward to working with local school districts and schools on implementing the Core. In particular, we know that schools will need to provide careful guidance to students as they choose electives," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "Students need to begin thinking about their long-term goals and dreams early on, and schools should be prepared to support them."

The following units will be required for graduation under the Future-Ready Core:

4 Mathematics Units · Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II
· Integrated Math I, II, III
· 4th Math Course to be aligned with the student's post high school plans
(At the request of a parent and with counseling provided by the school, a student will be able to opt out of this math sequence. He/she would be required to pass Algebra I and Geometry or Integrated Math I and II and two other application-based math courses.)
4 English Units  
3 Social Studies Units · World History
· US History
· Civics and Economics
3 Science Units · Biology
· An earth/environmental science
· A physical science
1 Health and Physical Education Unit  
6 Elective Units Two electives must be any combination of Career Technical Education, Arts Education or Second Language
4 Unit ConcentrationAs part of this core, the State Board of Education strongly recommends that local superintendents assist students in developing a four-course concentration focused on student interests and postsecondary goals. The concentration would provide an opportunity for the student to participate in a rigorous, in-depth and linked study. The concentration would not limit a student's access to opportunities provided through community college concurrent enrollment, Learn and Earn early college, Huskins or university dual enrollment. Local superintendents or their designees would approve student concentrations.

All totaled, students will be required to earn a minimum of 21 units of credit.

Prior to today's approval of the Core, Board members presented a framework to constituents statewide and held regional public meetings to gather citizen and educator feedback and ideas. The approved Core requirements reflect many of the ideas expressed during those meetings and by others through correspondence and in other ways.

The changes represent an increase in the level of mathematics proficiency for many students as well as a one-unit increase in the total number of units required under state standards.

The Occupational Course of Study will continue to be available for those students with disabilities who are specifically identified for this program. There are no changes to the Occupational Course of Study.

In addition to the Future-Ready Core, students will continue to be required to successfully complete a graduation project and to score proficient on the end-of-course assessments in Algebra I, Biology, English I, Civics and Economics and US History. Local school districts have the option of adding other requirements for graduation as well.

In approving the new standards, the State Board of Education stressed its desire that local school districts be given the flexibility to create curricula pathways that are innovative and rigorous. Students should be encouraged to take advantage of college level courses while in high school, including Learn and Earn programs through the community college or university dual enrollment offerings.

The Board's Globally Competitive Students committee charged the Department of Public Instruction with carrying out four activities to support the new standards: provide additional support to guidance counselors to help them guide students in making elective selections and take advantage of opportunities to obtain up to two years of college including an associate's degree; provide additional professional development and course development in mathematics; consider ways to incorporate second language instruction in the K-8 grades along with a language proficiency test; and to continue to collect information about arts education in the schools to ensure that arts education continues to be widely available to all students.

For more information, please contact the NCDPI Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.