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McCormick Calls New Graduation Pathway Requirements "Sloppy"

State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick says she's "disappointed" in the new graduation requirements approved by the Graduation Pathways Panel

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana State Board of Education has approved new graduation requirements for high school students beginning with the Class of 2023.

In a nutshell, the new provisions keep the standard coursework for a high school diploma, along with taking the SAT, ACT, and ASVAB exams. On top of that, according to the new requirements, students will also have to show employability skills through a project-based learning experience, service-based learning experience, or a work-based learning experience. 

RELATED: New Indiana High School Graduation Requirements Will Start With Class of 2023

“I am excited for the opportunities these new pathways will provide Hoosier students,” said Dr. Byron Ernest, chairman of the Graduation Pathways Panel. “They will go a long way to ensure our students are truly prepared for success in whatever they choose to pursue after high school.”

The requirements give school districts a little more flexibility to tailor curriculums towards career readiness for students who have certain career aspirations.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick says she's "disappointed" with the decisions by the board for a variety of reasons.

"When we pass policy that is a little sloppy, it makes me nervous. I don't appreciate it as a tax payer and I don't appreciate it as a parent."

McCormick says the new requirements were pushed through at the recommendation of the Graduation Pathway's Panel, which she says did not take into consideration the input from superintendents or school principals. She also says that more time is needed to fine-tune the new requirements.

"2023 seems like we have enough time, but in 2018-2019, House Enrolled Act 1003 goes through, so we're under a new contract for assessments," McCormick adds, referring to a new law passed last year replacing the ISTEP test with the ILEARN exam. "So, it's all a snowball that's going down the hill quickly where we have to change courses up. We may have to change high school assessments up."

McCormick says that with the implementation of both ILEARN and new graduation requirements, too much is happening at once.

She also adds that funding for the new provisions has still not been worked out:

"We know, just for the assessment alone, we may be looking at $10 million, and I'll be honest: the Department (of Education) just does not have that kind of money in our assessment account. And we did not count on that expense."

The new requirements will still need approval from the Indiana General Assembly when it reconvenes in January. Given that 2018 is not a budget year, the funding McCormick alludes to would need "special provisions" in order for it to be paid for.

(PHOTO: Audrey Vergales/Thinkstock)

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