New Bill Would Remove Senior Math Class Mandate

Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett)

Senator Steven Thayn has introduced new legislation that would remove the current Idaho rule mandating that all high school seniors take math classes their senior year.

Idaho’s intent in the current rule is related to the high number of incoming college freshman needing to take not for credit (and not for free) remedial math classes.

The logic, it goes, assumed that juniors who skip a final year of math are likely to end up in such remedial classes because they have become rusty in their math proficiency by taking a year off.

Should the legislation pass, it still won’t change the state minimum of six total math credits for a diploma. It also won’t change districts who set their own higher policy or require specific math credits such as geometry and statistics as part of the district’s minimum requirements.

For some seniors, especially those that are career technical bound, this can certainly opening a door to two extra elective credits they would not have otherwise taken.

And I don’t know that I ever found the requirement for math senior year particularly compelling from a college’s standpoint in reducing remedial class rosters.

Students that were college bound anyways were likely to take these preparatory classes without the mandate.

And the existing mandate does not require what specific math classes count during senior year. Many seniors, especially those most likely to need remedial instruction, might decide to exit the academic realm of trigonometry for something like personal finance.

And don’t get me wrong, that’s a great course. Yet, it’s hardly the type of course that is likely to provide for the mandate’s original intent of reducing college freshman needing remedial courses.

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