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Back to School 2009: State laws change with school year

The state of North Carolina predicts 1.46 million public school students for the 2009-10 school year. The year brings a number of changes due to new legislation, State Board of Education policy and smaller state and local budgets.
The first change is a revision in the state law regarding kindergarten registration. The new law specifies that only children who turn 5 years old on or by Aug. 31 are able to register for kindergarten in public schools.
Legislators voted to move the legal school entry age up by a month and a half in an effort to reduce dropout rates in later grades and help ensure students are ready for formal school when they begin kindergarten. The change makes about 13,000 students ineligible to register this year.
Also starting this year, incoming high school freshmen will be required to complete the Future-Ready Core Course of Study in order to receive their high school diplomas.
This course of study was approved by the State Board of Education in June 2007 to encourage students to take more rigorous and focused courses so they will graduate better prepared for college or work.While students are no longer required to complete The North Carolina Graduation Project as a state graduation requirement, they must still score proficient on five end-of-course assessments: algebra I, biology, English I, civics, economics and U.S. history.Local school districts have the option of adding other requirements for graduation.State funding also has been eliminated for literacy coaches working in middle schools, new textbook purchases and most testing not currently required for high school graduation, by federal law or as a condition of federal grants.
For more information about statewide changes, contact the NCDPI Communications division at 919-807-3450.

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