Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is making it easier for young people to enter the workforce immediately after high school, in an effort to modernize the state's approach to education and employment.
McAuliffe signed legislation on Thursday that will change high school graduation requirements so that students who aren't headed to college can better prepare for the working world. The changes will go into effect for students starting high school in the fall of 2018.
The late state Sen. John C. Miller (D), who sponsored the legislation, had envisioned that high school students would have a choice in their junior and senior years. Either they could go down a track that would lead to post-secondary education, or they could work toward earning credit for internships, apprenticeships or industry certification.
“Rather than sitting in an algebra 3 class where they can’t see any relevance to what they want to do in the future, they will be able to take courses that best prepare them for their career choice,” Miller said in February.
“Our high schools don’t work the way they should any more. They were built for the Industrial Revolution,” McAuliffe said Thursday. “We now live in a 21st-century economy. Our students deserve much better and I know that our high schools can do so much more than they’ve done.”
The governor's plans to redesign the state's education system aren't limited to Virginia's high schools. McAuliffe has also announced his intention to add $1 billion overall to the state budget for K-12 education and higher education.