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Southern Indiana school district lowers graduation standard

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A southern Indiana school system has reduced the number of credits required for a high school diploma for students this year, saying its higher standard put it at a disadvantage with neighboring districts.

Greater Clark County Schools has been requiring 46 credits for a Core 40 diploma. School board members voted recently to cut that to 40.

"We are requiring more credits than the state requires," Assistant Superintendent Travis Haire told the News and Tribune. "Some of our neighboring districts only require 42. A kid that has 44 credits at Jeffersonville High School would be a dropout, but go to some of the surrounding districts and be a graduate."

The district's graduation rate is one factor used to determine its grade in the state's A-F school ranking system. Haire said the higher requirement amounted to "shooting ourselves in the foot."

"We're asking kids to have 46 credits when the state says 40, and that's how we're being measured, that's how we're being held accountable," he said. "We've got a lot of people, a lot of teachers who are working very hard every day helping kids get where they need to get. The kid that's got 44 credits is a dropout because really, it's a number that was arbitrarily made by the board many years ago prior to Core 40.

"We are working too hard for those kids. We've got too many things in place to keep doing this to ourselves."

Superintendent Andrew Melin said the move won't eliminate necessary courses for a Core 40 diploma but will require fewer electives for students.

An academic honors diploma will still require 47 credits.

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