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California Budget Would Cut Science Teaching

SACRAMENTO (UPI) — A second year of science would no longer be required for high school graduation under a California state budget proposal aimed at saving money, officials said.

Educators have expressed concerns such a development could deepen the academic divide among students and further erode the state’s scientific and technological leadership.

The proposal in Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised May budget would free the state from reimbursing local school districts for the $250-million annual cost of the second-year science course, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The money-strapped state has not paid those costs since 2005, leaving the state owing public school systems $2.5 billion.

“This is a fiscally driven decision,” H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Finance Department, told the Times. “We don’t want to keep adding to the credit card balance we already have.”

Educators say they worry trimming science requirements will shut out students from qualifying to attend the University of California and California State University systems, both of which require two years of the subject.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said California should be strengthening its science instruction, not reducing it.

“It’s a huge contradiction that a state that produced such marvels to the world in technology is not investing enough in science to prepare students to fill the jobs of the future,” he said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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