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Gist delays new diploma system

February 4, 2011

State education commissioner Deborah Gist is calling for two more years before the state implements new graduation requirements that had been set to go into effect for the class of 2012.

The new rules call for high school students to get a score of partially proficient or better on state tests to graduate. Gist says she still believes the NECAP is an appropriate requirement, but she thinks schools need more time to prepare for the change.

Districts have been aware of the minimum score requirement for at least three years.

Gist is also backing away from a plan to create a tiered diploma system, saying she will instead support a single diploma for all students.

The reversal comes after criticism from some students, community organizations and civil rights groups, who say the new diploma system would discriminate against low income and minority students. Thousands would risk not graduating and be ineligible for honors diplomas under the old proposal because their scores on state tests are too low.

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