The editorial makes an important point about those who are so sure the new graduation program makes a mockery out of education reform: What is their alternative?
The career diploma was created to give some hope to the 35% of Louisiana ninth graders who will not graduate from high school. Until now, the only remedy proposed for the state's obscenely high dropout rate was to make school more "rigorous."
By adding a good dose of relevance to the state's rigorous curriculum, the News-Star argues, the career diploma may also offer hope to struggling students:
It will engage students who don't intend to go to college and who otherwise
might disengage from high school. It may not encourage them to try calculus or
advanced physics or AP courses, but it will challenge them to master enough
English and math skills that they can pursue technical training or
job-preparation coursework through the technical colleges. It may prepare them
with enough skills to gain employment in the trades. It may keep them in school.
It may direct them for successful lives.
The editorial acknowledges that 19 school systems asked to opt out of the career diploma program at a meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last week. Not all of them asked for a waiver because they don't believe in the program. Most of them simply believed they could not have a workable program in operation by the time school starts this year.