The Star-Herald

Maine again looks at changing its graduation requirements

Parents, teachers and students packed the seats of a legislative hearing Monday to voice their opinions about two bills that would drastically change — or even repeal — Maine’s move toward proficiency-based diplomas.

Six years ago, legislators passed a law saying that for students to receive a diploma in Maine, they must reach proficiency in up to eight content areas ranging from English and math to health and art. This year’s freshmen are expected to be the first to graduate with the diplomas.

Over the past few months, lawmakers have heard from educators and officials concerned about the new diploma system, including that it could create a new, higher bar making it more difficult for some students — including those with disabilities — to graduate.

At Monday’s hearing, stakeholders weighed in on two bills. One, from the Department of Education, would only require students meet state standards in math and English to graduate. Another would repeal the proficiency-based diploma law completely. Lawmakers heard a third bill in February to delay the diplomas for another year.

Many students and teachers defended the proficiency-based model. Among them was Reese Pinkham, a middle school student who goes to school in Prospect Harbor.

The County is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “Maine again looks at changing its graduation requirements,” an article by contributing Maine Public writer Robbie Feinberg, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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