But some provisions have been the subject of intense debate in Tallahassee.
Earlier this month, Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, former Gov. Jeb Bush’s education think tank, tried to dissuade a House panel from dropping geometry from the graduation requirements. She urged lawmakers not to lower the standards, saying students in Florida had risen to previous challenges.
Her proof: Statewide graduation rates have risen steadily over the past decade.
Levesque also raised concerns with the different diploma designations.
“When you set those low bars, the students that are going to be more often counseled into that diploma are our minority and underrepresented students,” she said.
Lawmakers insist there will still only be one standard diploma offered in Florida. It will just come in three equally rigorous varieties.
And Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat, denied that the bill would water down the curriculum.
“This whole approach is not… retreating, not backing down,” said Montford, who is also CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. “It’s a tweaking and a better alternative for a lot of our students.”
Pinellas County Superintendent Michael Grego, who pitched a similar proposal earlier this year, agreed.
“Right now, if you don’t pass an end-of-course exam, you don’t graduate,” Grego said. “It shouldn’t be an-all-or-nothing thing.”
Those who stand to be most affected might not get a say in the political process. Most are busy preparing for finals.
But Lina Zuluaga, a 16-year-old student at Michael Krop Senior High in Northeast Miami-Dade, said students would welcome the opportunity to custom-design their education.
“This would open a lot of doors,” she said.
Miami Herald staff writer Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.