New graduation requirements are likely in Illinois. Here’s what’s planned.

Students will also be required to take one course that includes “intensive instruction in computer literacy” but that instruction can be included in another class, such as English.

The additional requirements were intended to align graduation requirements with admission standards at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Lightford said the new computer requirement was added to address inequity in Illinois schools, ensuring Black and other marginalized students have the same opportunities as white students, “helping young adults of every background succeed in higher education.”

“Our children should be graduating high school prepared to be productive adults, and that starts with what we require them to learn,” said Lightford, lead sponsor for the bill.

The concerns 

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The change has received some push back, including from Illinois State Board of Education member Susie Morrison, of Carlinville. During a board meeting, she said the changes send the message that "that somebody has decided that two years of a foreign language class are more important than art, more important than music, more important than career and technical education courses, in a school day that is already so full and so very limited with time."

One concern with the new requirements is that Illinois, like most of the country, is suffering a teacher shortage, with almost 4,500 positions unfilled statewide this academic year. Foreign language and science are two of the subject areas with the most acute needs, along with special education.


March 5, 2021 at 05:24PM

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