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Comments sought on diploma waiver request
Comments sought on diploma waiver request

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is seeking public input on a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) concerning which high school diplomas are included in calculating graduation rates. A recent federal decision excludes the General Diploma from the state's graduation rate calculation.

Indiana schools offer four diploma types: General, Core 40, Core 40 with academic honors and Core 40 with technical honors. The federal definition of a "regular high school diploma" is the diploma that most students earn. In Indiana, that is the Core 40 degree or higher.

The IDOE is opposed to excluding students who earn a General Diploma because the state's General Diploma is of equal or greater rigor than the single diploma option offered in other states. A General Diploma does not include students earning a GED, certificate of completion or a lesser credential.

Each year about 80 students or nearly 12 percent of TSC graduates earn a General Diploma. Indiana's overall General Diploma achievement rate is 15 percent.

The IDOE believes that excluding the General Diploma in the graduation rate unjustly penalizes Indiana for proactively establishing the Core 40 diploma as a recommended path for Indiana students to be college and career ready. The change will negatively impact published graduation rates, misidentify schools as needing comprehensive support, and create unnecessary confusion of the state's accountability systems.

The IDOE is collecting public comment before submitting the waiver request to USDOE. Families are encouraged to take a couple minutes to submit their opinions to the Indiana Department of Education before the December 2 deadline.