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School Principals Share Concerns On New Grad Pathways

Some school principals offered feedback on the State Board of Education's new graduation pathways plan, citing concerns about implementation in schools across the state.

School principals are concerned about the state’s plan to change high school graduation pathway requirements. Some say it lacks important details on how schools can bring that plan to life.

The State Board of Education approved a plan for new graduation requirements last year, with an emphasis on career readiness or preparing students to go to college. Districts will have input through something called “locally created pathways,” but many principals want the state to clarify how that will happen.

Bluffton High School principal Steve Baker says schools already aim to do their best at preparing students for careers or higher education. So the challenge with these new requirements is fitting programs from different schools into a single framework.

“Schools were doing it, and doing it well,” Baker says. “I think it’s being done so differently it just may not look the same in everything that we’re doing.”

Other principals at the meeting agree that the possibility of locally created options is critical to their success. And Baker says if the state sets strict guidelines for those local pathways, some students could be forced onto a track they don’t want.

“If they are set with such high attainment levels that schools won’t be able to utilize it, that will hurt students,” he says.

Lawmakers will consider legislation on graduation pathways this session, but no bill has been filed yet. Senate Education Committee chair Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) has already filed legislation to change the state’s high school diploma structure.

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