Commission releases recommendations on graduation requirements for high schoolers

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Education Department released recommendations on new requirements for high school graduations and education.

According to NYSED, they assembled the Blue Ribbon Commission, made up of stakeholders such as parents, educators, school support staff, and others, to create a roadmap of education to meet the needs of all students in the state.

In addition, the commission was also tasked to create an education that adds competency imperatives that would give them practical skills in the workforce.

Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. explained the importance of creating a new roadmap for the state’s students, saying the schooling system became one that standardized learning options.

“The critical work of this Commission will help all New York State (NYS) educators plan and implement successful policy and practice solutions designed to respond to ever-increasing diversity, guarantee inclusive learning environments, and safeguard equity and excellence for all NYS students,” said Chancellor Young.

The Blue Ribbon Commission conducted research and received feedback to create 13 recommendations. These changes to consider include replacing the three diplomas with one, adding credits such as cultural competence and civic responsibility, and reviewing the state learning standards.

Many of these recommendations also aim toward graduation requirements. These include creating tailored requirements for students with unique circumstances, such as refugee students and newcoming students. There will also be exemptions from diploma requirements for students with cognitive disabilities and students experiencing life-changing events.

New York State United Teachers president Melinda Person released a statement applauding the commission’s recommendations, saying in part:

“The recommendations recognize what educators know so well: that each of our students is a unique learner with talents, skills, and aspirations that should be fully explored and nurtured on their way to graduation,” said Person.

The full document of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures, as well as the full list of recommendations and the statement from Person, can be found below:

Full Document:

Full List of Recommendations:

The following is the full list from the Blue Ribbon Commission:

  • Replace the three diploma types with one diploma, with the option to add seals and endorsements.
  • Include civic responsibility (ethics); cultural competence; financial literacy education; fine and performing arts; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) credit(s); and writing, including writing skills for real-world scenarios in diploma credit requirements. 
  • Ensure access to career and technical education (CTE), including internships and work-based learning opportunities for all students across New York State. 
  • Move to a model that organizes credit requirements— including content area credit requirements— into larger categories (e.g., mathematics and science courses could be included in the “STEM” category).
  • Reduce and/or modify diploma assessment requirements to allow more assessment options.
  • Create state-developed rubric(s) for any performance-based assessments allowed as an option to satisfy the diploma assessment requirements.
  • Create more specific, tailored graduation requirements to address the unique circumstances of certain groups of students (e.g., non-compulsory age students, newcomer students, refugee students).” 
  • Provide exemptions from diploma assessment requirements for students with significant cognitive disabilities and major life events and extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical conditions, death of a family member, trauma prior to sitting for a required exam).” 
  • Pursue regulatory changes to allow the discretion to confer high school degrees posthumously.
  • Require all New York State teacher preparation programs to provide instruction in culturally responsive-sustaining education (CRSE) practices and pedagogy.
  • Require that professional development plans include culturally responsive-sustaining education practices and pedagogy.” 
  • Review and revise the New York State learning standards.” 

Full Statement from NYSUT President Melinda Person:

The recommendations from SED’s Blue Ribbon Commission promise a bright future for our students and a positive outlook for New York as an innovator and global economic leader. The recommendations recognize what educators know so well: That each of our students is a unique learner with talents, skills and aspirations that should be fully explored and nurtured on their way to graduation. These proposals would help create young adults who are not just ready for the careers and challenges of today’s dynamic economy but who are lifelong learners and knowledgeable, engaged citizens.

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