SYRACUSE — New high school graduation requirements will be implemented in Indiana after the State Board of Education voted to do so Wednesday, Dec. 6, in Indianapolis despite significant opposition from teachers, principals and superintendents.
Graduation Pathways will be implemented including students taking the SAT, ACT or similar college entrance exam instead of end-of-course assessments, obtaining a high school diploma (the general diploma will likely no longer be offered), learning and demonstrating employability skills and postsecondary-ready competencies. These guidelines are to be met beginning with the graduating class of 2023.
Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee Community School Corporation superintendent, attended the meeting as did Kim Nguyen, Wawasee High School principal. Edington previously said the new graduation requirements would hurt the graduation rate for Wawasee. A significant number of Wawasee students take career and technical education courses while pursuing a general diploma and some of those students don’t fare so well in traditional academic courses. In addition, the new requirements will likely affect special needs students.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t some good in the concept, he noted. “Opposition does not mean we do not like the concept,” he said. “So many aspects are yet to be determined that the Graduation Pathways reminds me of a house with the foundation barely planned. You’d like to see the finished blueprint before you approve the house being built!”
If there is no longer going to be a general diploma available in Indiana, “we will need to work on good options for our struggling and special needs students,” he said. How to fund new programs will also be addressed, he added, as well as partnering even more with businesses and industries for student internships.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick issued the following statement Wednesday evening, Dec. 6: “Although disappointed in the vote, I’m extremely proud of our K-12 colleagues. They continue to be tireless advocates for our children and have remained student focused throughout this process. It is clear our Indiana educators are committed to being part of a solution to workforce and higher education concerns. The department will continue working with our legislators, concentrating on successful implementation of the Graduation Pathways, and collaborating with all those who work on behalf of our students on a daily basis.”