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State board hears overwhelming opposition to graduation requirements proposal

On Tuesday, parents and school administrators from around the state told a state education panel that they oppose a controversial proposal to overhaul Indiana’s graduation requirements.

A joint meeting of the State Board of Education and the panel tasked with drafting graduation pathways heard nearly unanimous opposition for more than an hour.

ISTA President Teresa Meredith was not called to comment; however, her testimony was sent to the board for consideration.

Most opposition centered around impacts of requirements placed on students in special education programs and those students who wouldn’t fit into Career Technical Education-centered pathways, as well as costs associated with meeting requirements to place students in workplace experience and administer costly standardized tests, like SAT and ACT.

Many also expressed frustrations with the rushed effort to pass such a big change with so many unknowns.

An additional concern raised was the lack of effort to involve K – 12 educators in the process. While there was opportunity for public comment at panel meetings and online forums, the panel itself consisted heavily of higher education and employer/workforce representatives.

Questions remain around the capacity to implement such widespread changes successfully such as transportation for apprenticeships, adequate funding for more tests and additional course offerings, availability of teaching staff and the level of options particularly for small and rural districts.

Concerns were raised about over-testing, with multiple pathways requiring some form of assessment. This impacts all students faced with more and more testing.

It is also undetermined how many of these new requirements will be tracked and how locally developed plans would be approved and monitored.

The State Board of Education will vote on the panel’s recommendations Wednesday.