With school starting next week, the Lafayette Parish School System is one of 39 school districts attempting to opt out of a new "career diploma" program. The state Legislature this year passed a law aimed at reducing the dropout rate that calls for high schools to offer students an alternative degree that focuses more on career and technical training. The bill was derided in some education circles as a watering down of academic standards and expectations. State Superintendent Paul Pastorek called it a "dummy diploma."
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to rule on LPSS' request for a temporary exemption next month.As is the case with most school districts, LPSS’ opposition has less to do with principle than with the time needed to implement such a program. From The Town Talk:Lafayette School Superintendent Burnell Lemoine said that while he is 'very supportive of the concept, it's the time factor' that makes it too difficult to start the program this year. An Aug. 11 start of school in Lafayette Parish gives an even shorter timeline. Lemoine said getting the word to parents, completing counseling and making sure the correct courses are offered also complicate the situation.