High school students may get more choices Electives, science may expand in Baltimore County

September 25, 1992|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

Baltimore County high school students would spend less time in social studies and physical education classes and more time in science and elective courses under a proposal for new graduation requirements presented to the school board last night.

The proposal would make the county requirements identical to new state Department of Education regulations, which take effect next September.

The new requirements also would allow students more flexibility and broader choices in course selection, making school more exciting, said Catonsville High School Principal Donald Mohler.

"We really believe that the need to compete for students will create more exciting classrooms," said Mr. Mohler, who was representing secondary school administrators. "We really believe that we need to develop individual plans with each student . . . individual goals with each young person who comes into that high school."

Mr. Mohler said the "overwhelming sentiment" among principals was to adopt the new requirements. He said those opposing the changes are concerned that reducing the physical education requirement from 1 1/2 credits to a half-credit might signal a lack of commitment to fitness and diminish the schools' ability to attract coaches.

The state requirements call for three credits in science -- Baltimore County now requires only two -- and for a total of 21 credits -- the county requires only 20 -- to graduate. Students would be required to take only three social studies courses instead of the current four.

English, math, health and fine arts credits would remain the same for county students, but a broader course selection would be available in fine arts, said Mr. Mohler. County students currently must take a half-credit each of music and art.

The new requirements also would allow for three electives and a combination of foreign language and technology courses.

The board will study the proposed changes and hold a public hearing on it next month.

Superintendent of Schools Stuart Berger, who appeared to be in agreement with many of the changes and the increased flexibility, asked the board to make a final decision in November.

The controversial state regulation requiring students to undertake community service work was not discussed.

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