High School Students in Florida Must Pick a Major

High school students will have to choose majors, and middle school students will have career planning as well as more math science and English under legislation signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush Monday.

The legislation also offers more to students who will not be going to college, but one student, John Mann, has mixed feelings.

“If you’re going to make high schoolers pick a major, than you might as well make them do it in elementary school because nobody knows in high school what they’re going to do. They don’t have any experience at all.”

Beginning in 2007, picking a major is exactly what every high school student will be required to do. The good news is that it can be flexible.

For many high schoolers, it’s more like running laps to the finish line of a high school diploma. And for those students, says Jeb Bush, making them choose a major will add focus.

“A lot of kids get bored out of their gourds. I mean, they just lose their interest in school because they’re not connecting what they’re doing in the classroom to what their aspirations are.”

Middle school students also face big changes, says Wayne Blanton from the Florida School Boards Association.

“A lot more math is going to be offered at both middle school and high school. Number two is going to be an increased emphasis on science.”

Middle-schoolers will also have career planning and more civics, and for six out of 10 high school students who don’t have college in their future, there will be more centralized technical or vocational education.

The education bill signed by the governor Monday also established a new starting date for public schools. The fall semester can begin no sooner than two weeks before Labor Day. That prevents school districts from starting class in the first or second week of August, a practice many had adopted to try to get a head start on the FCAT exams.