New diploma option may soon come for Indiana H.S. students

The fight is on for flexibility where Indiana graduation requirements are concerned.

“For me, it’s a change in mindset, a change in culture,” said Ind. Rep. Wendy McNamara.

McNamara wants the state to create a new diploma for career and technical education students. One key component would be to ease the strict math requirements that are now in place.

“If you are learning let's say, welding for example, the math that you need for welding or the robotics technology that you need, for welding, is going to be distinctly different than some of the math that's required in your high school diploma that currently is taking place,” said Rep. McNamara, (R) Mount Vernon. “So why not take the math required in welding or HVAC or robotics and give students the credit for that?”

Rep. McNamara authored legislation that passed the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year. It requires recommendations for the new diploma to be made to the Indiana State Board of Education by November of 2015.

Rep. McNamara has been traveling around the state to try and get the word out. Today, she met with local education and business leaders who gathered at the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.

“They have to take four years of specific courses, and perhaps if they could take an applied math that coordinates with a career field that they want to study that could be just as good,” said meeting attendee Laura Marzotto, who is Director of Adult and Technical Education for the South Bend Community School Corporation. “It’s not possible now. The Core 40 has us boxed into specific core academics that students have to take.”

Rep. McNamara currently serves at the Director of Early College high school with the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. “My contention is if we can teach kids while they're in high school, capture them to have them learn in the context of the career field that they love, kids are going to stay in high school. It’s going to increase the graduation rates. Industry is going to get the skilled workers that they're looking for, as they come out of high school, and it's a win-win for everybody.”

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