The head of Indianapolis Public Schools is confident that fewer high school seniors will graduate with waivers next year. The General Assembly may pass new rules on waivers before he has a chance to find out.
About 8.5 percent of the state‘s high school seniors received a waiver to get their diplomas in 2012, meaning they were unable to pass end-of-course exams in math, language arts or both.
IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White says reforms are in place this year.
“People in the building will make recommendations, they will send that to the central office, we will have a review committee and we will make the final decision about graduations,” White says.
Chairman of the State House Education Committee Bob Behning says two or three school districts in the entire state are pushing up the rate and says using waivers cheapens a high school diploma.
One of schools increasing the waiver rate is IPS, where 27 percent of the Class of 2012 needed a waiver to get a diploma.
Students in Indiana can receive a waiver to graduate even without passing the Graduation Requirement Exam if they meet other requirements; earning a C-average in the course in which they failed the exam, having an attendance rate of 95 percent or better, taking all remedial courses that are offered and receiving a recommendation from their teacher.
White says his students are moving in the right direction. He points out that 32 percent of seniors in 2011 received a waiver to graduate.
Behning says the number of waivers should never have been allowed to reach double digits in the first place, saying the waiver law was passed with the idea that a small percentage of students would need them.
Behning plans to introduce legislation in the next general assembly session to cut down on the waivers being issued.