The Business Council opposes this bill because it weakens the graduation requirements established by the New York State Board of Regents.
Before the Board of Regents raised academic standards, students were able to graduate from high school by passing tests at the 8th grade level. Enrollments in remedial courses in community colleges and the complaints of employers about the lack of preparation of recent high school graduates, both demonstrated that tens of thousands of high-school “graduates” were being turned out each year without adequate preparation. Most recently 5,000 potential CUNY students who were originally admitted to bachelor's degree programs based on courses taken and grades received scored too low on tests the university uses to determine college readiness.
Clearly, high school grades and other high school activities vary greatly across schools. Consider how little a “C” average in high school means. An article in the Spring 2004 American Educator cites research that the chances that students with high school averages of C or lower will earn even one college credit are less than 50-50. Yet jobs requiring a bachelor's degree will grow by a quarter by the year 2008, and jobs requiring an associate degree will grow by nearly a third (31 percent). Jobs requiring only a high school diploma will grow by just 9 percent.
It's clear that the skills and knowledge required in the workforce continue to increase at a rapid pace. This bill would turn the clock back 25 years to the pre-1980's system we had even before Regents' competency tests were instituted. Furthermore, allowing high school graduation to be based on a school's discretion only serves to absolve schools of the responsibility of the providing every student with a meaningful high school education. This is the path to exacerbating every social and economic gap we have in society.