States are reviewing high school graduation requirements and some are starting to loosen up. It may seem counter intuitive, but some states are loosening requirements to stem dropouts and improve college and career readiness.

On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott inked a bill that scraps algebra II, chemistry and physics requirements and creates three distinct diplomas – standard, scholar and merit – for high school students starting in the 2013-2014 school year.

Graduation RequirementsThe change allows “merit” students to substitute industry training for some math, science and English courses, but still requires university-bound students – scholars – to complete advanced courses. Students can earn a standard diploma by completing algebra I – the minimum required by all students – and biology.

[See photos of the top 10 high schools for 2013.]

Lawmakers in Michigan and Texas are also considering proposals that would adapt requirements to accommodate students interested in fields such as construction, farming or manufacturing.

“Anything that provides options, that makes sense to families and students, ultimately will be a good thing for kids,” says George Heitsch, superintendent of the Avondale School District in Michigan.

Michigan students already have the option to create a personalized curriculum that integrates career and technical education courses. Students in Heitsch’s district can take vocational classes at a regional high school, splitting their day between the two schools.

CONTINUE READING Loosening Graduation Requirements For High School Students Is Gaining Momentum

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