Chicago high school students may soon need to create a plan for their future in order to graduate.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday to discuss his new proposal, which would require students to develop a post-high school plan before receiving a diploma.
Chicago would be the first city to adopt such a requirement if the measure is approved by the city’s board of education.
“We live in a period of time where you earn what you learn,” Emanuel said. “The school system of K through 12 is not applicable to the world and the economy and the world that our high school students are graduating to. So we’re moving to a pre-K to college model.”
Under the proposal, all Chicago Public School students starting with this year’s freshman class would have to show an acceptance letter to a four-year university, a community college, a trade school or apprenticeship, an internship, or a branch of the armed services in order to receive their high school diploma.
“Around 62 percent of our kids are already either accepted into college or accepted into community college, and our goal is to make sure nobody spikes the ball at 12th grade,” Emanuel said on Wednesday. “We want to make 14th grade universal. That’s the new goal line.”
Emanuel said the plan is a continuation of the city’s efforts to provide more access to higher education, including free community college for students with a B average or better.
“We want to make sure our kids do not see graduation from high school as the end point, but all of them have a plan and all of them have a specific acceptance on how to go to post-high-school education,” Emanuel said.
The plan would allow students in special circumstances to waive the requirement. Undocumented immigrants, English language learners and currently incarcerated students would be able to apply for a waiver with Chicago Public Schools.