Here’s a snippet from the blogosphere for all you education nerds: One of the senior editors of the American School Board Journal is skeptical of an idea floated by Superintendent Terry Grier to offer more diplomas at different levels to curb the dropout rate in San Diego Unified schools. San Diego Unified already offers an alternative diploma that requires fewer classes, but it is only promoted to older students who are far behind on class credits.

Senior Editor Naomi Dillon blogged that Grier has introduced many reforms that are sensible ways to cut the dropout rate, such as a virtual high school where students take classes online, and stronger monitoring of truancy. But she is less enamored with the idea of a system of tiered diplomas that would allow some students to graduate with only the minimum classes required by California, instead of the higher standards that San Diego Unified now requires.

Dillon writes:

Here’s my problem: What then, is the incentive for other kids then to adhere to San Diego’s graduation requirements? And, I’m guessing, San Diego developed their standards based on an understanding of what their students need to know in order to advance to college or compete in the workplace. So, wouldn’t this just be widening (the) gap?

I understand the desperation among educators to keep kids from leaving school without a diploma and the need to try innovative things. But this is one idea, I think that’s stepped too far out of the box.

EMILY ALPERT

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