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Indiana Pauses Plans for New Diploma Requirements

Indiana's state board of education is hitting the pause button on plans to create a new set of diplomas for high school graduates.

The board was expected to approve a new set of graduation requirements proposed by the state's education department earlier this week. The state's legislature had ordered a review of graduation requirements in 2014. K-12_Dealmaking.gif

But the Associated Press reports that board members were concerned about plans to replace a general high school diploma with a so-called Workforce Ready Diploma. The state would also offer a College & Career Ready Diploma and an Honors diploma, which both require more courses than the Workforce Ready Diploma.  

The Workforce Ready Diploma, which the state says would be earned by just about 10 percent of the state's high schoolers (most go for the more rigorous options) requires more math courses than the current general diploma. Those that don't earn the Workforce Ready Diploma would be assigned a Certificate of Completion.

That's led some, including special education specialists, to raise concerns that the additional math classes will be a barrier for some students who currently earn the general diploma, and that the Certificate of Completion gives potential employers or schools too little information.

Other groups also raised concerns about the state's new plan: Arts education advocates noted that the proposed diplomas would cut a requirement that students complete two credits of arts courses (music, dance, visual arts) in order to earn an honors diploma. 

The new plan would also create "focus areas" for students, which some said were both not clearly defined and would unnecessarily limit high schoolers' course options.

Chalkbeat Indiana reports that Glenda Ritz, the state's superintendent of education, said that despite the delay, the state will still plan to offer a new set of diplomas in 2018-19The board will review a revised proposal in April.

A quick Google search does not turn up other states using the terminology "Workforce Ready Diploma." 

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