Lufkin High School could face new state graduation requirements

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Various legislators have filed numerous bills this legislative session. These numerous bills may increase flexibility in Texas high school graduation requirements.

Graduation rates are climbing at Lufkin High School, but for the state of Texas many legislatures believe high school graduation standards need to change.

"Wonderfully our legislatures are listening. Our moms and dads are saying there's enough of this and our students ought to be measured in other ways," Roy Knight, Lufkin ISD superintendent, said.

Options for new graduation standards would include lower total credit hours and up to 15 end-of-course exams.

Knight said, "Its lead to what I call the chronic testing syndrome, which then directly leads to the battered student syndrome. A high school kid can take 15 exams and be no closer to being job or college ready than they were before those exams, but we've taught our public this is a great thing."

For Lufkin High School students there are many options when it comes to choosing courses and career paths.

"They don't make every kid learn the exact same thing. If some kids are stronger than others, they can move through the program more quickly," Shane Rowley, Lufkin high school senior, said.

Programs have been added to Lufkin's curriculum to make sure students are given fair opportunities to meet graduation requirements.

"To force children into one track fits all, one graduation plan fits all doesn't recognize a difference in children," Knight said.

STAAR testing was designed last spring for students to take after completing 15 courses needed to graduate and scores count toward 15 percent of their grade. Which means one thing for juniors and seniors.

"It's a lot of pressure because you're getting closer to graduation, and everyone wants to graduate," Hollin Jordan, Lufkin High School senior, said.

Just a few years ago, Texas ranked among the lowest states in the nation in high school graduation rates. Texas lawmakers want to improve the state's standing, and they will spend much of the session trying to make progress.

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