State Board President and local teacher weigh in on proposed credit changes

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – The West Virginia State Board of Education has proposed making changes to graduation requirements for high school students in the state. 

According to Board of Education President Dave Perry, when it comes to the number of credits needed for graduation on this proposal, nothing changes. It will remain at 22 credits. 

“However, the number of required units of math changes from still three, but the required courses are two with an elective,” Perry said. “Same way with the social studies. It’s still three required social studies electives but two are required and one becomes elective.” 

Perry says counties then have the power to make their own credit total higher than the state’s minimum if desired, but Tega Toney, a social studies teacher at Oak Hill High School, says she and her colleagues are not pleased with the proposal. 

“We like for students to have ideally, in a perfect world, in my mind anyway, students would have four credits of the core classes: English, math, social studies, science and added elective credits,” Toney said. “You know, there’s not a whole lot of people, I haven’t heard a lot of people in favor of this proposal. I’ve heard a lot of people against it.” 

The proposal is under a public comment period right now until January 24, but Perry says he is receiving positive feedback from parents and students  because of its flexibility. 

“For the first time, this will allow students to explore areas that before, they were unable to do because of requiring certain courses,” Perry said.  

The new proposal allows for more “flex credits” to be used on elective courses based on the student’s choosing. 

“Flexibility for students is always a good thing but here’s the issue. A couple of years ago, we went from 24 credits required to graduate overall to 22, so fundamentally, I’m opposed to  lowering graduation credit requirements anyway, but had we not dropped those other two credits that would also provide flexibility for students to cater towards the direction they want to go, but now they only require 22 credits instead of 24,” Toney said. 

The proposed policy also requires all schools to implement a career exploration program for middle school students. It also requires all high schools and middle schools to offer virtual school programs.

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