Public high school students in the nation's capital may soon be able to graduate without taking a single U.S. government course.
The D.C. State Board of Education proposed changes to the graduation requirements in December that would require students to take more physical education, art and music courses instead.
The proposal, put forward to combat declining graduation rates in the District, where fewer than two-thirds of high school students earn a diploma, would also require students to write a thesis and raise the total number of required credits in D.C. public schools from 24 to 26 -- more than students need to earn diplomas in many other states, according to the National Center for Graduation Statistics.
Some of the new requirements -- specifically nixing the need for a government course -- have drawn the ire of advocates for civics education.
Patrick Mara, who represents Ward 1 on the school board, believes a majority of the nine-member board won't back the proposal.
"This is one of those things that looks great on paper, and it's very well-intentioned, but it goes without saying that U.S. government should be a requirement in the District of Columbia," Mara said.
Mara said he would "certainly vote against" the proposal if it came to a vote anytime soon.
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