Indiana coalition tweaks graduation requirements under new work-based study program
- In an effort to expand career and technical education opportunities in the state, Indiana has formed a coalition of seven school districts who are who collaborating to rewrite the rules for graduation to allow students to waive certain classes, such as Algebra 2, in exchange for valuable work experience, Chalkbeat reports.
- The new “Coalition of Continuous Improvement School Districts” was created under legislation based on a model law from the American Legislative Exchange Council and is operating under the direction of the Indiana State Board of Education.
- The coalition is pooling ideas and resources to form business partnerships designed to help students prepare for future jobs and to explore the flexibility of course offerings and teacher licensure requirements offered under the new law.
With a push under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to “rethink schools” and now President Donald Trump's proposal to merge the Education and Labor departments, many states have been developing plans for work-based programs that may better prepare students for career pathways that don’t require a college education. New York, North Carolina, Georgia and Minnesota have also developed work-based study programs with new requirements for students who are seeking an alternative graduation pathway.
As Indiana moves forward in aligning school and work through the coalition, the state is also revising credentialing requirements for teachers as a way to meet the demand for teachers in a tight market and offering alternate Algebra 2 classes that focus on more practical aspects of the subject for students who may struggle with traditional approaches. A new approach to graduation requirements in the state also allows for multiple measures of college and career readiness, including the option to earn a state- and industry-recognized credential or certification.
With growing acceptance that all high school students won't take a traditional career path to college, these changes provide more opportunities for success in a changing world and help to meet future workforce needs. School leaders, however, may face opposition from those who think a subject area they teach is threatened or that standards are being lowered.