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Ag courses should count for science credits

A proposed bill that makes some sense is working its way through the Wisconsin Assembly.

The measure would allow high schools to grant students science credits for completing agricultural education courses.

Right now, Wisconsin students are required to complete two science credits during their high school career to graduate.

Classes that qualify as science include the traditional biology and chemistry courses, but any classes dealing with agriculture do not count.

People in this great dairy state should know there's something wrong with the way things are.

Anyone who has taken a high school agricultural course, or helped their kid with homework from an ag class, can tell you that the curriculum is all about science. There is a healthy dose of biology, geology, chemistry, botany, engineering and more wrapped up in every high school offering.

Of course, not every agriculture class should qualify as a science course. But a fair number of the upper-level classes should certainly qualify.

Under the state plan, agriscience courses that meet certain state standards would count as science courses. The curriculum will have to match up with established, expected outcomes from the state.

Wisconsin, more than many states, should know the value of classes under the agricultural banner. Those who choose to study ag-science or pursue careers in ag-related fields will be the ones who provide our state's food supply in the future.

And unlike many of us, who took high school science classes and soon forgot the information that was taught, farmers and employees in agricultural jobs will be using their scientific and technical knowledge on a daily basis. It makes sense to apply the appropriate ag-science classification to the high school courses that gave them some of that important knowledge.