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Teachers and parents are worried about proposals for high school diplomas

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Indianapolis, Indiana – At a meeting of the Indiana Department of Education on Wednesday, numerous educators and parents voiced their opinions.

A plan that would drastically alter the way diplomas are given was met with resistance by many of them.

There were two suggested diplomas that students might select from:

• The Graduates Prepared to Success (GPS) Diploma, which is similar to the current Core 40 Diploma. The GPS Diploma would provide college readiness competencies such as the SAT and ACT standardized tests, and dual enrollment.

• The GPS Plus Diploma would be tailored for students who may consider apprenticeships after high school.

Acfcording to Ron Sandlin, the Department of Education’s director of school performance, students can personalize their education with the diploma options. “Children have been pushed up and, in certain cases, out of our system far too frequently. We must consider the way we will incentivize their destination. How can we invite them to the table in order to entice them to join us?

One of three seals—for work, further education, or military enlistment—would accompany each diploma.

The state’s secretary of education, Katie Jenner, claims that the modifications will assist pupils in choosing their post-high school goals. “How do we provide clarity to our students so that they know, you know, and, throughout the time, and aren’t waiting until their junior and senior year?”

At Fort Wayne’s Northrup High School, teacher Benjamin Tomell expressed concern that the plan would not provide a well-rounded education for his students. “Knowledge of economics, world history, advanced mathematics, science, music, art, and world language are essential for the cultivation of productive citizens.”

We’ll be accepting comments from the public all spring and summer. The rule would go into effect in the 2025–2026 academic year if the Board of Education adopts it before December.

The proposed degrees won’t sufficiently challenge pupils, according to a statement from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

“Educators and parents want students to receive a high-quality education that prepares them for success – college or career after high school. However, the constant changes to Indiana’s high school diploma requirements make this ideal challenging. Educators have raised concerns about the latest round of proposed changes. While the diploma seals are a step in the right direction, we remain concerned about key issues related to equity and access, lack of rigor in the GPS diploma and unattainable rigor in the GPS plus, and the negative effects on students having to earn a ‘C’ in courses in order to pass. We encourage parents and educators to contact the State Board (of Education) and ask them to address these issues.

 

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