It’s possible I’m misreading the import of this Dan McGowan article on WPRI, but it sure seems like Providence is just admitting that its schools can’t fulfill the mission everybody expects from it:
Providence parents will need to affirm they understand the city’s minimum standards for a high-school diploma may not fulfill college admission requirements under a new policy announced Thursday. …
A revised diploma policy being considered by the Providence School Board would reduce the amount of credits students are required to earn during their high school career from 21 to 20, removing an existing foreign language requirement in favor of more elective courses. Superintendent Chris Maher said this week the goal of the changes is to give schools more flexibility.
To be fair, McGowan notes that “many of the state’s largest school districts do not force students to take a foreign language course in high school,” which colleges in the state tend to require, but I’d wager most Rhode Islanders believe it to be a central premise of our public schools that graduating students will be able to move on to college, if that’s their plan, and to do so without putting in their two now-free years at the Community College of Rhode Island to cover any lingering minimum requirements.
I should note that the school choice system I advocate would allow space for some districts and private schools to specialize such that not every student will graduate college ready. Different students need different things and have different futures ahead of them, and forcing them into curricula that serve the needs of other students isn’t helping them. But that’s not the organizing principle claimed for our public schools.