Simon has "the answer"
(September 9, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- The director of the state EducationDepartment is proposing a plan he calls -- quote -- "the answer to inefficient, ineffective high schools." Under the proposal, all students would be enrolled in the state's core curriculum of 38 high school courses unless their parents opt out. And every Arkansas high school would be required to offer the existing core curriculum every year. The proposal comes as state policymakers struggle to address a court order to overhaul the state's public education system. It is subject to approval by the state Board of Education. Education Department Director Ray Simon presented the plan yesterday at a joint meeting of the state boards of Education, Higher Education and Workforce Education. Under the plan, the existing 38 core courses would become a default curriculum, meaning every student would have to be enrolled in it unless a parent signed a waiver saying the student did NOT have to take certain courses. Completion of the high school curriculum, including four units of math instead of the current requirement of three, would guarantee graduates unrestricted admission to any college in the state except the University of Arkansas, which has additional requirements. State regulations currently require schools to offer all 38 courses in the core curriculum, but do not require them to be taught every year.