Chicago is adding a new graduation requirement that is causing quite the controversy

First lady Michelle Obama hugs Jenika Headley-Greene as Obama hands out diplomas during the graduation ceremony for Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School, Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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High school is a busy time for students. They have to balance learning with social activities and sports, not to mention any other extracurricular events they are attending. It’s a lot and it looks like they are going to get one more thing added to their plates. Starting in 2020, students will be required to show evidence of a postsecondary plan – whether a job offer or acceptance to college, the military, a trade apprenticeship, a job program, or a gap year program. They won’t be able to receive their diploma without doing this.

Mayor Rahm is behind this initiative saying, “A K-12 model was relevant 10, 15, 20 years ago. The city of Chicago is moving towards a pre-K to college model.” The plan is titled, “Learn. Plan. Succeed,” but not everyone is onboard…

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In an email, Ronnie Reese, a spokesman for the Chicago Teachers Union, said, “Chicagoans aren’t asking for new graduation requirements. They are asking for fully funded schools, an elected school board, transparent leadership and safe, well-resourced neighborhoods.”

Other doubters are looking at who is going to help these students get them their potential college choice, or job offer. Currently Illinois has the worst guidance counselor to student ratio at 701-1. The recommended ratio is 250-1. So once this is a requirement, who is going to be guiding these kids in the right direction?

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So if you have a child that will be a senior by 2020 or after, it’s never too late to begin the conversation about what they want to do. All students from Chicago Public Schools that graduate are guaranteed admission to the City Colleges of Chicago community college system, but that could just prolong their decision on what to do. Sound off in the comments section about how you plan on getting ready for this big change for Chicago schools!

What do you think?

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