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CMS board lowers graduation requirements

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board Tuesday night made it easier to graduate from high school. The board voted 5-2 to require students to pass 24 courses, beginning with next year's freshman class. The standard had been 28 courses. CMS now has the lowest across-the-board graduation requirements among North Carolina schools in the Charlotte area. Every other district requires 27 or 28 courses. (View different requirements here) Earlier this week, Associate Superintendent Ann Clark said the 24-course policy would allow more students to graduate early and enroll in college, study abroad, or maybe complete an internship. "We're just really trying to give greater options to our students," she said. "There are fewer credits required to graduate. Essentially what it does is reduce the number of electives. The core requirements are not changing in math, English, social studies. We're just reducing the number of electives." Students will no longer be required to take a foreign language. That's in line with state policy, which currently requires students to only take 20 courses. Students entering the 9th grade next year will be required to take 21 courses.http://wfaewatercooler.ning.com/profiles/blogs/puzzling-question-who-keeps However, students will have to take a foreign language to meet admission requirements to most colleges. CMS staff recommended the 24-course policy after a series of seven community forums last spring. Those forums were held after a state report revealed the CMS dropout rate increased 45 percent, but Clark says the dropout rate did not inspire the change. The CMS dropout rate for the 2006-07 school year was 6.39 percent. Figures for 2007-08 have not been released.