New Graduation Requirements Provide More Options; CPR Training a Must

A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
Beginning this year, New York state high school students have more choices available to meet the graduation requirements.

The State Education Department has dubbed this flexibility as “multiple pathways” or “4+1.”

Prior to this year, students were required to take and pass five Regents exams in math, science, U.S. history and government, global history and geography, and English.

Now instead of taking two social studies requirements, they have a choice of taking an extra math or science course, completing a career and technical education program, completing an arts sequence, or completing a foreign language sequence.

While there is some flexibility, students are still required to pass a total of five Regents for graduation.

This change is a thoughtful response to what I have heard in the district and beyond.

While many of these changes are geared toward preparing students for college, not all career choices require a college degree.

Many fields, like skilled labor and some computer engineering jobs, are more technical and do not always require a four-year degree, but do require trainings and certifications.

I’m pleased that art and foreign languages classes are  among the choices for high school students to fulfill their graduation requirements as both of these fields can open doors.

There is also better access to technical fields for high school students through the newly-created New York State Pathways in Technology (NYS P-TECH) program, a public-private partnership designed to prepare thousands of New York students for high-skills jobs of the future in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and finance.

This program is offered in select high schools and provides students the opportunity to have access to workplace learning and internships as well the opportunity for an Applied Science degree in a high-tech field.

Our region would greatly benefit from this type of program due to the number of advanced manufacturing facilities and technology companies.

It is my hope that State Education recognizes this and selects our area for the next round of P-Tech funding.

For more information on this program, visit or contact your local school.

CPR Required for High School Students

I was pleased to sponsor legislation which passed and was signed into law in 2014 that required the State Education Department to adopt instruction related to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the use of defibrillators.

Before graduating high school, all students must now learn CPR.

With the new requirements, students will be taught how to recognize the signs of a possible cardiac arrest and to call 911.

They will also be taught how to perform chest compressions.

The standards for instruction need to  be based on a nationally recognized instructional program that uses the most current guidelines issued by the American Heart Association or equivalent organization.

The bill was signed into law last October and took effect this month.

Emergency personnel treat nearly 300,000 victims of cardiac arrest out of the hospital each year and bystanders trained in CPR can double or triple the victim’s chance of survival.

According to the American Heart Association, studies demonstrate that trainees, including school children, are able to provide CPR with 30 minutes or less of training.

I am confident that this new requirement will work to save lives across our state.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other state issue, please contact me.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.

You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.