State considers beefed-up curriculum

(September 26, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- The state Department of Education wants to add another year of math to its requirements for high school graduation. The "Smart Core" plan was made publicy esterday and could become part of the department's regulations as early as next school year. Every student would be required and encouraged to take the Smart Core curriculum, but parents could sign a waiver to take their child out of the program. The current number of required graduation courses would increase to 22 with the addition of Algebra Two. The program also would require four years of English and three years each of science and social studies. Ray Simon, the education department director, says he will present the department's "Smart Core" proposal to the state Board of Education next month. If board members approve, the plan will be explained in a series of public meetings around the state. Simon says the state must get serious about making classes rigorous and available.