INDIANAPOLIS (WFFT/AP) - The Indiana State Board of Education has approved new requirements mandating that students do more to graduate from high school starting in 2023.
The measure passed Wednesday on a 7-4 vote after hours of testimony from educators who overwhelmingly opposed the changes.
"There aren't a lot of issues that get representatives from every different kind of school district to speak up about it," said Krista Stockman, Fort Wayne Community Schools spokeswoman.
Students currently in seventh grade will have to complete coursework, demonstrate employability skills through service or work projects or show they're post-secondary ready through exams that include the SAT and ACT.
Stockman said there are still many unknowns on how the program will work.
"What exactly does this testing requirement mean? What does the internship mean, the volunteer activity, what does it mean and how do we track that?" she asked.
The challenge is now getting ready for the new requirements. Districts only have a year and a half to get ready.
"It's a very fast time to try and get these pathways in place and set so these kids can graduate after four years of high school," Stockman said.
While the new standards will create some challenges, FWCS will be ready.
"We work with students really closely on with the new pathways it is going to be very hard for students who are struggling," Stockman said.
The general education diploma will still be an option for some students because it is written into state law.
The added rigor has stoked fears that the graduation rate will plummet and local schools will be overworked tracking the requirements.
But others see the move as necessary to ensure students are ready for either college or the workplace.