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Pennridge School Board on course to change senior requirements


Last summer it was LGBT and free speech rights. Now another subject is pitting Pennridge School Board members against one another.

If approved, Policy 217 would alter graduation requirements, reducing the social studies requirement from the current (and administration-recommended) 4 to 3 credits. Students would continue to take American history but would no longer be mandated to take World History. In addition, the health and physical education requirement would be cut from 2 credits to 1.5. Currently, a narrow majority is in favor of the changes.

Proponents of the changes say the World History course would still be offered as an elective. Moreover, the move would give students more flexibility to pursue career-relevant courses, boosting their chances of acceptance into more select universities. “I can’t think of a single college that requires you to take more than three years of social studies. Most of them require two,” said board member Megan Banis-Clemens at a November policy committee meeting.

Opponents, including the social studies department, claim dropping the requirement will reduce content in other history courses because they will be forced to adopt aspects of World History curriculum. District educators maintain that in an increasingly interdependent world, World History is necessary. They cite data showing the majority of districts in the county require 4 credits.

During public comment, Robert Linden of West Rockhill said the U.S. was in a battle with China and Russia, so supremacy in technology was vitally important, “a lot more important than a lot of history we don’t know for sure is correct anyway.”

Current state Department of Education requirements only mandate 3 credits of social studies, and the subject, because it is not tested on the PSSAs and Keystones, has long been seen as secondary to the core subjects: English, math and the sciences.

The school board is expected to vote on the proposal at its Dec. 5 meeting.

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