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Story Archives: 'Career diploma' waiver requested
|'Career diploma' waiver requested|
The Franklin Parish School District is one of 55 in the state asking for a delay in changing its curriculum to provide a "career diploma" for select studentsóbut not because of any disagreement.
Franklin Parish Superintendent Lanny Johnson says it is a matter of time.
"We are one of the districts that deferred the career diploma plan simply because we haven't had time. We definitely want to be a part of it, but we just didn't have time this year to meet the requirements," he said.
Some state legislators, including Rep. Jim Fanning of Jonesboro, a sponsor of the law, have taken the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to task for implementation of the program.
Johnson acknowledged some of the proposed requirements are difficult to meet, but he still maintains there is not a philosophical objection to the intent of the legislation.
"Under the career diploma program," he said, "students are permitted to choose a career path and the instruction for that career, be it a welder, or something else."
A total of 19 districts received waivers to the program last month and another 55 waiver requests are pending the next state board meeting this week.
"The reason for the program is to lower the drop-out rate, mostly by removing the need for college prep courses such as geometry and algebra," Johnson said. He noted students on a "career diploma" path would still be required to take standard courses in addition to their career instruction.
Although Johnson backs the program, he sees one potential drawback.
"One of the things I didn't like, is that once a student opts for the career diploma, he can't go to a four-year university. They may get down the road and decide that they want to go to a university."
At the state level, about one third of Louisiana's 180,000 public high school student fail to graduate. Nationally, the rate is one in four.
The new diploma law is designed to reduce the number of drop outs but new curriculum decisions appear to be a block in the implementation process.
Most districts expect to have the program available in the next school year.