Bring back GED exit option, Pasco school officials urge lawmakers
During the Pasco County legislative delegation meeting Tuesday, Pasco school officials touched on the usual suspects -- give us flexible funding, don't force the next step in class-size reduction, that sort of thing.
Included in the district's priorities, though, was this nugget: Preserve the GED exit option for high school students.
The Florida Department of Education ended the program over the summer, saying students who remain in school need to complete their diplomas the old-fashioned way (although kids currently in the program were allowed to finish it). Commissioner Eric J. Smith said the move gave more credibility to Florida's diplomas.
Pasco leaders contend the GED exit option provides incentives for at-risk students to stay in school and graduate. (Land O'Lakes High School offers an example.) So if the commissioner doesn't have the statutory authority to continue the program, they said, the Legislature should allow its continued use for high school diplomas.
The DOE rule now allows students to enroll in the program, but they will earn an "equivalency diploma" rather than a standard one.
It's not clear how Pasco's idea would fit in with new ways of calculating graduation rates, or with the Obama administration's push to increase graduation standards. But it sure could be an interesting conversation if it ever makes it to the Capitol.