Syracuse Reacts to New High School Graduation Requirements Syracuse Reacts to New High School Graduation Requirements

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The New York State Education Department Board of Regents met Monday to discuss a new set of graduation requirements for high schoolers, which included making the New York State Regents Exams nonessential for receiving a high school diploma.

The NYS Regents Diploma requirements currently state that each student must pass all five regents exams in order to graduate high school. Those exams cover content that spans across five subjects: math, English, history, science, and a secondary language. These tests are designed to measure a student’s comprehension of essential topics in each subject.

“From the very beginning of this effort, I have urged people to understand that our work is about raising the bar for all,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. in a statement. “True equity and excellence in education is achievable, but only if we provide all students with meaningful educational opportunities and multiple avenues for them to demonstrate their mastery of the state’s rigorous learning standards.”

The proposal to do away with the Regents Diploma requirement has sparked debate across the state, including in Central New York. Jason Butler, a graduate of Liverpool High School in Syracuse, is in support of the change.

“I think getting rid of them would be better. [They] didn’t really help me,” said Butler. “There’s more requirements to get a Regents Diploma than there was just a regular high school diploma.”

Others, like former New York City native Victoria Townson, believe that Regents are essential to the learning experience. She said, however, that schools are not preparing students well enough to take these tests.

“All those [topics] are important. It’s the schools job to prepare [students] for the education,” said Townson. “I feel like we need to put the funding and the resources that’s going to prepare the next generation and educate us. Not just throw an exam or say ‘here’s the exam. ‘”

Townson’s view is shared by Butler.

“I think it has to be more adaptive to what kids want to do with their lives,” said Butler. “The narrative is just ‘go to college, go to college and go to college,’ and I think there’s so many other opportunities.”

NYSED released in a statement that projected timelines and a final proposal for the change will be presented to the Board of Regents in November 2024.

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