Students could take fewer courses to graduate from high school in South Carolina under a moneysaving suggestion up for debate next year, which some call a backward move.
Legislation prefiled by the leader of the House budget-writing committee would let students graduate with 20 credits or earn an "advanced" diploma with the 24 credits currently required. Giving the option to students not going on to a four-year college could cut costs in a year legislators face an $800 million budget gap and reduce the dropout rate, said House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper, R-Piedmont.
"I don't see it as retreat, I see it as an alternate track. Everybody doesn't want a four-year college degree. There are people who want to do other things, and we should give them an option," he said. "Hopefully, we'll keep some of them in school."
The spokeswoman for the state School Boards Association said the group generally supports the idea.
"We're supportive of offering students choices, in terms of having flexibility to choose the best route to be successful," Debbie Elmore said. But she questioned the difficulty of keeping track of which path students are on.