Rep. Bourne Backs Workforce Readiness Math Courses in High Schools

LITCHFIELD- State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) co-sponsored House Bill 2165, legislation that will allow school districts to offer practical math courses to fulfill the high school graduation requirement. HB 2165 passed the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously and awaits action by the Governor.

“This legislation was a suggestion from school districts who saw students succeeding in school but unable to fulfill the strict mathematics requirements for graduation. Their goal was to open up the restrictions to offer those students the option of career and technical math. This will allow students more options to satisfy math requirements for graduation while learning practical math that can be used in the workplace and in everyday life,” said Rep. Bourne.

Under current law, in order to obtain a high school diploma, Illinois students must complete three years of mathematics; one of which must be Algebra I, one of which must include a geometry component. Math is the only course of study that has such specific requirements for graduation. These specific requirements, focused on college-ready math, does not include any real world or practical mathematics instruction.

House Bill 2165 keeps the component of school instruction that requires three years of mathematics, but with some changes that reflect mathematics courses that students are more likely to use. The course requirement that includes geometry content may be offered as an integrated, applied, interdisciplinary, or career and technical education course that prepares a student for a career readiness path.  In addition, an AP computer science class may be used as math credit, without the need to complete Algebra II prior to taking the class. This arrangement was the result of multiple discussions with experts and educators to ensure that students are receiving the best, more comprehensive high school education possible – whether they choose to enter the workforce or college after graduating.

Rep. Bourne continued. “I’ve spoken to many employers who are seeking employees with practical math skills. This new change will also help fill a hole in our workforce readiness.”