Details of Graduation Pathways unclear

The Board of Education said the pathways are here to stay, but they still have a long way to go in the planning process.

Posted: Jan 20, 2018 10:09 PM
Updated: Jan 21, 2018 7:00 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Students in Indiana will face new guidelines for getting their high school diplomas, but some parents are concerned how Graduation Pathways will affect their children.

"I have a third grader and a seventh grader. My seventh grader actually has Down Syndrome," said Brandi Buck.

Buck wants her kids to have the same opportunities as everyone else, but she's concerned for the future.

"We ultimately are reliable for the pathways that our kids choose, and if we can't educate them and assist them on those pathways, I'm not sure how effective that will be when they have to make that choice," Buck said.

Buck joined other parents at a meeting Saturday to ask questions about Graduation Pathways. The new requirements include taking harder classes, passing tests such as the SAT, and completing a work or service experience.

"The issue for me with the pathways is that you have a great concept with not a lot of detail, actually pretty much no detail, no accountability, no funding, and it's been thrown to the legislators to provide that in a very short amount of time," said Jill Leal, a parent who helped organize the meeting.

Leal said a combination of pathways and federal education regulations are doing away with the general diploma. 

"Indiana has to come up with a singular diploma, which essentially is saying we're going to have this single diploma with add-ons," Leal said.

The Board of Education said the pathways are here to stay, but they still have a long way to go in the planning process.

"Whether you agree or disagree with that, now is our opportunity to have input on how this is going to look as we get to the implementation phase in the classrooms," said Steve Yager, a member of the State Board of Education.

State legislators are bringing feedback back to Indianapolis to make this a smooth transition for everyone.

"These new graduation pathways have a lot of questions around them. I did hear today that there's some positives in there that everyone can agree with. It's just the details," said Martin Carbaugh, State Representative, 81st District.

Locally, schools are encouraging parents to get involved as those details unfold.

"I think that the first thing is just ask questions and we're going try to make it as simple as we can to help guide parents," Wendy Robinson, FWCS Superintendent.

Robinson said the discussion on the pathway program is far from over. Another meeting will be held at the Grile Center at 5:00 p.m. on January 25th.

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