Indiana Affirms General Diploma Distinction Despite Federal Waiver Determination
The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has formally denied Indiana’s waiver request regarding the inclusion of all Indiana high school diplomas in graduation rate calculations as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). IDOE stated they are disappointed in this decision, given the negative impact this will have on students, schools, communities, and our State. IDOE stated the new federal definition for “regular high school diploma” raised concerns due to ramifications and unjust accountability implications for Indiana districts and schools. Under this definition, roughly 8,000 students’ achievement in earning an Indiana high school diploma would not be counted in the State’s graduation rate. In response, IDOE took immediate action and requested this necessary waiver from the USDOE. Knowing a waiver would have been a short-term solution to a long-term problem, Indiana’s General Assembly took action in House Enrolled Act 1426. Although Indiana will see a one-year artificial decline in its federal graduation rate, this will normalize as an outcome of this legislation. Parents can be confident diplomas with general distinction will remain as a recognized diploma in Indiana.
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