Buttars defends eliminating 12th grade on CNN

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, is getting a lot of attention for his proposal to save the state money by getting rid of the 12th grade.

Appearing Tuesday morning on CNN, Buttars was asked about how he came up with the idea -- and why it will not hurt students who are already motivated in their education.

"And then you have two groups of kids in classes: those who are really motivated and already have one foot in college, and those who are just goofing off," Buttars said. "And if you talk to a hundred kids you'll hear over and over that, ‘I took three P.E. classes and two art classes.' That's not the way to spend the public's money."

The Utah State Commissioner of Higher Education William Sederburg says while he respects Buttars' view, graduation requirements should be made more stringent so students are required to take tougher classes in their senior year.

"We need a full four years of mathematics, four full years of English. We're just seeing too many students coming into college not prepared to be successful," Sederburg said.

Buttars says his bill would save the state $120 million a year. It is now being debated in the Senate.

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