Indiana high school graduates will face a new crop of diploma choices in the 2018-19 school year, but details of those diplomas are still being discussed.
The Indiana Career Council recently submitted their recommendation for three new diploma types, a reduction from the four currently offered by the state.
During the public comment period at Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting, many audience members appealed to the board, saying the new diploma requirements will make it harder for students with special needs to graduate.
The four current options include a General diploma, Core 40 diploma, Core 40 with academic honors or Core 40 with technical honors. Not every school offers all four, but many of the parents who testified said having access to a diploma like the general one – which requires fewer credits in core areas like math, science and English – would help their special education students complete a degree.
The three diplomas the Career Council recommends are called the College and Career Ready diploma, the Workforce Ready diploma and an honors diploma. All of these require more credits than current diplomas in core subjects.
This is where the opposition comes from: some say the increased credit requirements don’t allow special education students access to a high school diploma.
Currently, a special education student can receive a certificate at the end of their high school career, but many of the parents and special education advocates who testified at the meeting said this is not fair to these students.
The new diplomas must be approved by Dec. 1, so the State Board of Education plans to take action on the subject during their November meeting. Since the matter must be decided by the end of the year, Ritz suggested the INSBOE hold a special meeting in October to discuss the diploma options at length and to hear from the public.