AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas State Board of Education holds a last round of discussions before finalizing the state’s new high school graduation requirements.

Before its final vote Friday, the board meets Wednesday in Austin is to weigh how requirements for speech and foreign language courses should factor into the new graduation standards.

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The Legislature voted overwhelmingly last summer to overhaul academic curriculum. Lawmakers eased advanced math and science requirements to allow students more flexibility to focus on career and vocational training.

The board is charged with implementing the changes and voted in November to uphold dropping a requirement that most Texas high school students pass algebra II.

Critics say the law is watering down curriculum, but supporters contend it will help Texas schools meet the demands of the state’s modern workforce.

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