The House Education Committee approved a watered-down version of a bill that puts on paper legislators' displeasure with the graduation project that public school students must complete to earn diplomas.
Under the bill and the state board's April vote, the requirement is delayed until 2011, though local school boards can still require a project as a graduation requirement for 2010.
The bill would also require the legislative program evaluation division study the project's cost and effectiveness.
Rep. Jimmy Love Sr., a Sanford Democrat, opposed the requirement first as an unfunded mandate. He later started to worry later the requirement would increase the drop out rate.
More after the jump.
The state education board loves the graduation project, which they say allows students to demonstrate skills they'll need in the working world: writing, producing a product, and speaking in public.
The N.C. Association of Educators likes the project, too.
Rep. Ray Rapp, a Mars Hill Democrat, spoke up for the project, saying that business leaders like the idea.
But the requirement stoked the ire of some students, parents and teachers who complained openly about the time and cost.
Rep. Angela Bryant, in an interview, said she questioned the state board spending so much time spelling out the project requirements, time she said would have been better spent working to reduce the dropout rate.
"I just felt insulted," said the Rocky Mount Democrat. "These people are crazy. I'm not seeing anything from them recommending increasing the graduation rate."
Rep. Bonner Stiller — implying that it's really parents who are going to do the work, not the students — said the project put children in single-parent households at a disadvantage.
Single parents wouldn't be able to free up enough time to do their child's project, said Stiller, an Oak Island Republican.