Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Diploma Discussion: What Concerns Do You Have For Special Ed Kids?

    Indiana policymakers are focusing a lot of their attention lately on the different diploma options offered to Hoosier high school students. After the original draft for new choices came down from a committee of educators and business leaders, members of the public had a lot to say about he proposed changes – so much so that the State Board of Education decided to send them back to the drawing board. Over the next two weeks, we’re taking a deep dive into some of the ideas that have been brought forth, why they are so controversial and what they mean for preparing Indiana’s students to be college- and career-ready. Check out our previous stories on arts and math requirements, as well as how the new options would impact students’ choices

    Photo Credit: juriyrus/Flickr

    Photo Credit: juriyrus/Flickr 

    The whole point of changing the diploma requirements is to raise the bar that allows an Indiana student to graduate and better prepare them for what they do after high school. But one of the major concerns around the proposed changes has to do with how special education students will meet these new standards.

    Parents of special education students testified at the special meeting regarding diplomas that adding more credits and requiring students to get workforce experience will be hard for these students to complete in four years.

    Currently, Indiana doesn’t have a separate diploma or allow for adjustments in the graduation requirements for students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities, so they are held to the same standards as general education students. Some states, like Georgia, offer a separate diploma for special education students. In Connecticut, if a student has moderate to severe cognitive disabilities the school may adjust graduation requirements so they better meet the student’s abilities.

    Next week, StateImpact is bringing you a comprehensive look at how special education students in Indiana could struggle with new diploma requirements. Before then, we want to hear from you educators and parents about what concerns you have for your students with special education needs.

    Comment on this story, post to our Facebook page or tweet at us and we’ll include your input in next week’s story.



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