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Elimination Of IEP Diploma Turns Divisive

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One state is facing backlash as officials move forward with plans to stop awarding diplomas to special education students who do not complete minimum academic requirements.

The New York Board of Regents is just one step away from eliminating the so-called “IEP diploma,” a certification typically offered to students with disabilities who complete their individualized education program, or IEP, but do not fulfill the requirements for a regular high school diploma.

In its place, New York officials want students to receive a new honor dubbed “skills and achievement commencement credentials.” The reason: they say offering anything with the word “diploma” in it to students who have not completed all of the typically required coursework is misleading.

The move has some parents and student advocates up in arms, however. They argue that changing the distinction’s name could compromise job opportunities for individuals with disabilities since many employers require a diploma, but don’t specify what kind.

If given final approval, the change would take effect for the 2013-2014 school year, reports Newsday. To read more click here.

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Comments (7 Responses)

  1. Travis says:

    Hi I’m person with a Learning Disorder to hear this report on Elimination of IEP of Diploma is not right with people who have disabilities. I’m speaking on behalf of Advocate and to hear one or more states to Elimination on Diploma how is people with disabilities post to find a working environment?
    If this law does get passed i’ll be so upset for folks who need a Diploma that’s why they goto School and work so hard to get the Diploma what’s wrong with are State.

  2. Caryn Freedman says:

    Every person deserves a diploma as long as they have been at school regularly and performed within their capabilities. No discrimination based upon disabililties! A person’s skills and knowledge will reveal itself to a potential employer.

  3. James Ruckle says:

    Instead of awarding special diplomas, who don’t they give us an inclusive education? Then we could earn a “regular” diploma. I can’t tell you how many adults with disabilities have LOST job opportunities because they graduated without a full education. It doesn’t deceive employers, it deceives the applicants!

  4. Laura Fiorenza says:

    This is by far one of the most ridiculous proposals I have seen regarding education in decades.

    First and foremost, this “Regents Requirement” is not only affecting IEP students it affects non-IEP students who cannot pass all the Regents exams required to receive a diploma. All students, mildly special needs, severely special needs, non-special needs but having difficulty passing Regents exams will not get a high school diploma.

    Now, for all the hard work that students go through for 12 plus years, they won’t get a diploma? My son will get a diploma if its the last thing I do. He works hard and will have learned enough to get a high school diploma. He should not have to pass Regents exams for a high school diploma. Do taxpayers want lots more non-graduates to live off the public dole? Then sit back and do nothing b/c that is what is going to happen if these blind elitists get their way.

    NYS cannot continually raise requirements for a basic high school diploma, give teachers and districts less money, increase classroom size and yet not do anything about EDUCATING the students so they can pass these tests and get a diploma. I am looking for a law firm, or the ACLU to bring a lawsuit against NYS for denying special needs students a high school diploma. If my special needs child cannot get a high school diploma unless he passes all the required regents exams, then by God the district better be prepared to teach him to pass these exams.

    Since we all know that is not going to happen how about NYS department of education put your feet back on the ground and wake up to reality. The goal is to increase high school graduates, not decrease them. Have a regents high school diploma, a non-regents high school diploma, and an IEP high school diploma. Not that difficult of a concept.

    A future hair dresser, plumber, pipe fitter etc should have a high school diploma but may not want or be able to get a Regents diploma. So with NYS new proposals those people will get NOTHING. My IEP student is capable of passing exams to get a regular diploma but not at passing Regents. He isn’t taught well enough to get to the level necessary to pass Regents. So, he can get a high school diploma. My son’s friend has an individual education plan so that he can learn as much as he is capable of learning in the same subject areas as the Regents kids, but at a slower and less in-depth rate. His disabilities make it difficult for him to pass even the non-regents exams. However, he has and is learning and will take and complete life skills classes for 2 years after his regular course work. Give him a High School diploma.

    Then of course is our neighbor who is hardworking, very smart and will without a doubt get a college degree after high school. He will be taking and undoubtedly passing as many Regents classes and exams that he can fit into his schedule. Reward him at graduation with a Regents diploma. Something more than a standard high school diploma.

    The NYS department of education needs to realize that raising the requirements for a basic diploma does not raise the caliber of students. It just decreases their numbers.

  5. Tammy Young says:

    I am a mother who has a child who just got a IEP diploma and another child who is going into 11 grade who was working to get a IEP. What the goverment is doing is a outrage to these kids, They have made it so my son can not go on further with his schooling cause they took away all the funding that he was surpose to get, like fincial aid and student loans. So what does that say to our kids? My daughter worked hard all last year and made honor roll every quarter, yes with the extra help, but where is this leaving her and her education. No child left behind, Then you tell me what are you doing? You are making it so these kids will have no chace in life and there dreams and there future!!!

  6. Traci says:

    After strugling for 4 year’s my daughter finaly past her math regent’s. The school and district decided to give her an iep diploma as of her last iep meeting, when she graduates next year. My daughter was in the 9th grade 3 time’s and is now a junior. She learning disabled and has a bi-lateral sensinueral hearing loss, hearing aid’s don’t work and neither did cochlear implant’s. she also get’s sick more often then most. She has been in a deaf school all her life and started therepy at home when she was 1 and when to pre k since she was 2. She work’s hard just can’t get it and doesnt understand alot of things. I found her a job she work’s one day a week they won’t give her more hours since she can’t comunicate. I fear for her i really do. What are these kid’s going to do? What can we do as parent’s of these kids? They deserve better then their getting. I find that they work harder then the average kid. They get up earlier they started school much earlier my daughter has been in school for 17 year’s already and she’s 18. Instead of the same old schooling they need to try something different maybe find there interest and focus on those things so when they get out of school they are trained in a field so they can get a job and they get a degree in there training?

  7. Eden says:

    I was once a Special Education student in Georgia. I graduated from High school in the late eighties, but during those years I was fortunate to graduate with a general diploma and to graduate from college. These days,I feel bad for Special Ed students that graduate with these so called “Special Ed”diplomas. To me, it’s no more than telling your children that they will be future .

    I still don’t see how the new diploma option will help the students. Employers and College recruiters may still dismiss it as a Special Ed diploma. Not only will it still hurt the students, but since many school systems are concerned with graduation rates, it will not help it. Recently, a discussion about graduation rates in Southern states was discussed. Out of most of them, Georgia had one of the lowest. Does it surprise me? Oh no.From what was said most of these states either have a well established IEP plan for their students and/or let their students graduate with a general diploma. In states like GA and NY, they want to distinguish the kind of education their students receive, but instead of helping these kids to transition into the real world, they are being held back. They school administrations don’t realize that they are hurting their schools by doing this.

    The problem with most schools is that they throw Special Ed kids under the bus. To them all of them look alike. They don’t want to take the time to know your child’s abilities. Fortunately, I had teachers that did. If it weren’t for them, Wouldn’t have reached my potential.I also had friends who were in Special Ed ans some of them have became teachers, nurses accountants or computer analysts. In Ga, the state superintendent have waivered from the No Child Left Behind Act. I’m hoping that hell do the same with the diplomas. The diplomas..not the students… are keeping their students behind.

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