White says he’ll offer diploma ideas in Sept.

BATON ROUGE (AP) — State Superintendent of Education John White said Monday that he’ll unveil his proposals for reworking Louisiana’s public high school diploma system in September.

White said a diploma should signal whether students are ready to enter college or to work in a specific industry. His focus at a speech to the Press Club of Baton Rouge was on readying high school students who aren’t going to a four-year college.

The superintendent said the career-readiness diploma pathways available to students should be decided regionally, in coordination with community and technical colleges and including apprenticeships and internships for students.

“We need to reform our diploma structure or our economy and our state’s employment structure is at great risk,” White said.

He said the state’s current career-track diploma has drawn a stigma that makes few students pursue it. He said it is considered a “dropout diploma.”

White said he’ll present his ideas to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education next month, with the goal of having a BESE-approved package of policy changes recommended to lawmakers for the spring legislative session.

The first students to receive the new diploma would graduate in 2018.

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