Calculus a major part of the new Florida standard

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SARASOTA, FL-- The State Board of Education is considering several changes to the Common Core standards currently being used to educate students.  52 of the additional standards being considered deal with calculus taught to high school students. A change that is being celebrated by some.

"My goal in life is to go on to a post secondary school and I really want to get a PHD in computer science and find a job in the industry that's fun for me," said David Wecke.

Wecke is a senior at Suncoast Polytechnical High School in Sarasota. To reach his goal of getting a job in the computer science field he says he must excel in math and because of current state standards he's limited by the courses available.

"I take pre-calculus right now and its actually a shame that I don't take calculus because I think it will prepare me more for college and what I'm trying to do," added Wecke. 

But the state Board of Education is working to change that.  It's in the process of adopting the Florida Standards, which will includes calculus. 

"We're trying to prepare students for the world we don't know, as far as what jobs are going to be available for students.  Some recent studies are showing that of the students entering the military, 75% of them can't because they don't have the necessary math skills to pass the test," said Sue Meckler with the Sarasota School District. 

Meckler says the change is not only necessary for those wanting to go into the military but also to keep up with the current job trends.

"When we look at jobs that are most important in our country right now Google's number one job is for a statistician and they're having to go over seas to find people to fill those jobs because our students don't have those mathematic skills," added Meckler.

But some fear just raising the standards to include calculus isn't the best solution.

"I think right now calculus would be very difficult for me.  In the past I wish I would have had the resources to do calculus, but right now, I don't," said Heather Billington another senior at Suncoast Polytech. 

Billington is in the cosmetology program and she says requiring students who struggle at math to take advance courses could cause more harm than good.

"Making people do something that they are not good at will make them feel bad about themselves and make them feel less than," added Billington.

And while school officials agree the change will be difficult, they say its necessary.

"Its going to be more challenging but its really not about whether the standard is this or that.  Its about the thinking we are asking students to do, its thinking more critically, thinking more deeply, because society is asking our students to be better thinkers and problem solvers," said Meckler.

The vote to change Common Core to the Florida Standard is will take place on February 18th.