Bill would let students take fewer classes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Students could take fewer courses to graduate from high school in South Carolina under a moneysaving suggestion up for debate next year.

Legislation prefiled by the chairman of the House budget-writing committee would create a tiered diploma system. Students could opt to graduate with 20 credits or earn an "advanced" diploma with the 24 credits currently required. Rep. Dan Cooper says it creates an option for students not going on to a 4-year college. The Piedmont Republican says it could cut costs and improve the graduation rate.

But a former state schools superintendent says the backward move will leave students less prepared for whatever career they enter. Republican Barbara Nielsen worked 13 years ago to raise the required number of credits from 20 to 24.

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