Diploma Bill Clears Senate, Goes To Governor Carney For Signature

HS1 for House Bill #287 unanimously passed in the Delaware Senate today after some rough waters when it was on the House side.  Thank you to all the Delaware Senators and House Reps who passed this bill and recognized it’s importance.  A huge thank you to State Rep. Kim Williams and Senator Nicole Poore for getting this out to begin with.  And then thank you to the Special Education Strategic Plan Committee for making this a huge priority to begin with.

This is a landmark bill for students with the most severe disabilities in our schools.  Provided Governor Carney signs it, we will no longer have these students get a certificate but an actual diploma.  It was an archaic and outdated thing in our public education system.  Students with disabilities are just as important as their peers and the bulk of our General Assembly gets it.  And it looks like the Delaware business community began to recognize why this is important as well.

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14 thoughts on “Diploma Bill Clears Senate, Goes To Governor Carney For Signature

  1. I too believe this is a good thing. When it comes to law good things can get messed up during the implementation stage… I wonder what changes, trainings, and others things teachers are going to have to do. What changes to our already crazy, confusing, glitchy computer systemS (we have way too many) are we going to have to learn, fix, relearn, band aide, and use in the future… I like change for good, but I wish it could be some enhance what teachers do, not be another thing to our already overflowing plate. Please be curious and ask questions when it’s comes to how this will work in the day to day school activities.

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  2. di plo ma
    1. a document given by an educational institution conferring a degree on a person or certifying that the person has SATISFACTORILY completed a course of study.

    cer·ti·fi·ca·tion
    1. the action or process of providing someone or something with an OFFICIAL document attesting to a status or LEVEL OF ACHIEVEMENT.
    2. an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement.

    Definition of “standard”
    : something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example : criterion
    : something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality

    Kevin and Mary Jane, I respectfully disagree with your view of what a diploma is and its significance.:
    KO-” It was an archaic and outdated thing in our public education system.”
    I do not understand if you believe the certificate was archaic or if the idea of a Diploma was archaic. Diploma’s are not a ‘symbol’ of participation. They are a legal document stating the student has passed and completed high school. If a special needs child does not pass the standards for high school, they should not be granted a diploma. You are assigning the granting of a diploma as a human right. It is very different.

    A school district is entrusted to grant ‘diplomas’ based on the school district’s ‘certified’ curriculum which is predicated on standards of education.

    This movement / legislation to grant ‘diplomas’ to students who (in some cases are not to blame) cannot attain the certified levels of education predicated on educational standards, is misguided. If the effort is to afford the student the ability to be eligible for work, then something else is needed rather than grant a diploma that is misrepresenting of the individual. To grant a fully recognized diploma to a student, who is incapable of meeting the recognized standards of education, does a grave disservice to the individual student, the school and an employer who is attempting to hire an individual. It renders the ‘diploma’, worthless if it is granted to students who are do not meet the standardized level of education. It effectively will be forcing the schools to commit fraud. They, as the certified body, would be granting a legal diploma to a student who has not satisfactorily completed all the certified standards. This effort is driven by emotion rather than fact. Completing ‘time served’ in high school does not mean the student has ‘completed’ high school. The motives to grant the diploma are UNDERSTOOD. They are extremely well intentioned motives. They are NOT beneficial to the greater majority of students, employers, or the schools. Legislators beware: feel good legislation like this will render the Diploma, all but useless to employers as a gauge of competency.

    Respectfully, this is inappropriate legislative action to make some students ‘feel’ more valued rather than recognize a student’s certified completion of standards.

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      • John,
        Please explain it then. Consider me completely uninformed. I want to be informed.

        As I read the post, the effort is to give students a H/S diploma, (who cannot pass the minimum requirements of a H/S diploma [for medical reasons, for mental reasons, for learning disability reasons]).

        In other words, a legally identifiable document, of minimum competency, will be given to someone incapable of the minimum competency.

        Why? (Again, as I read the post)-because employers won’t consider a student for a job because the certificate that used to be used, doesn’t carry enough weight.

        Sincerely, please explain how giving a ‘diploma’ to someone who hasn’t passed the necessary criteria, benefits the greater whole. If I am completely missing the point, I would very much like to understand.

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  3. God Dammit Knave, did you fail to get your high school diploma? Because you certainly failed to do your own research. The new diploma is a “State of Delaware High School Diploma of Modified Performance Standards.” It will effect about 1% of students, all in special education. More importantly, it provides certain students with two diploma options before they are remanded back to certificate of performance. A student can eek out a regular diploma or a diploma of modified performance standard. Too boot, earning the certificate subjects students to multiple IQ tests and requires a DX of severe intellectual disability. I expect a business owner or hiring manager would be able to differentiate between a young adult who applies through or with their supported employment agency and a neuro-typical student who received one your elitist diplomas. If they can’t do that, perhaps they should not have been awarded THEIR diploma.

    Sometimes feel-good bills do more than make people feel good. This bill shows employers that special needs teens/adults can achieve more than perfect attendance. They can remain on task, complete tasks, and transfer to tasks – which is vitally important for many of jobs neuro-typical diploma-earners don’t want to do for the rest of their lives.

    Fuck You.

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    • Thank you Ellie for your clear, ‘kind’ explanation. Sorry to have bothered you to explain the very thing I was trying to point out.

      1. Employers looking for staff with limited capabilities can discern a certificate from a diploma. They don’t need a fabricated new name for a diploma that isn’t a diploma. They get special accommodations for hiring mentally challenged children and a certificate allows them to understand that the individual is suited to certain jobs but not others. If employers can’t discern the difference then you’re right, the employer probably doesn’t have a diploma.

      2. Diplomas are not ‘elitist’ except in your view of the world and it is very tragic that you believe that. More than that, it is quite disturbing that you have construed a legal standard to be simply a fuzzy level of attainment. Diplomas are standards.(That was the whole point in my original post.) Creating a special category of Diploma means that the document and the standard is no longer a identifiable. What you want is similar to graduated driver’s licenses. i.e.: Motorcycle endorsement (M) or Commercial endorsement for trucks(CDL). But diplomas aren’t that specific ergo what you are advocating for is for a driver’s ‘license’ for all teenagers even though some shouldn’t be allowed to drive on major highways, at night, or vehicles with more than 50 horsepower. Sorry to be so obvious but a ‘Certificate’ vs. a “High School Diploma of Modified Performance Standards” is nothing more than wordsmithing. And that is very problematic. It is an emotional response rather than a factual acknowledgement of capability.
      3. Attaining a high school diploma is not that difficult Ellie and if a student in question cannot attain it, they probably have a 504 or IEP which already required IQ and other tests to establish their need for the 504 & IEP (Or they just didn’t give a chit).

      My apologies for creating an urge in you to send expletives at me. That’s a shame. However it does explain that you are too emotionally connected to this to discern the factual inconsistencies and intellectual in-congruence with a diploma (that isn’t a diploma). I’ll leave you with the fact that what you are arguing for is a document that is almost as good as a diploma. A Certificate is that. You can disagree with my opinion, (and send very nasty, gutter type comments at me) but you are still making the case for something not based on facts. You are arguing for schools (legal entities that must be routinely inspected to verify their performance) to issue documents that are clearly misleading. “Modified Performance Standards” indeed. Illegal Alien vs. Undocumented Resident?? One is factual the other imbues the person who has broken federal immigration laws with a misconstrued level of legitimacy. Please be honest and recognize your misdirected motivations. Archaic ? Elitist? What is next, removing all gender specific pronouns from teaching materials? Heaven forbid we identify boys and girls as boys and girls.

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  4. Knave, I am not kind. Nor do I pretend to be. And I prefer my pronouns to read he/she/it and sometimes polka-dotted; although the grammarian in me knows that polka-dotted is not a noun much less a pronoun. I write in sentence fragments, leave out articles, and adore oxford commas. I carry a four-year degree, the post-secondary kind, in addition to my own arsenal of post-doctoral certificates. Yes, I attained one of those, too. However, my certificates tell my employer that I did more than just show up and perform in the show. The antiquated certificate system you want to maintain is deplorable. No, I am not kind. And you, sir, are most certainly, not right.

    I have in twenty years of writing never used obscenities like the ones I reserved for you. However, I have also never stumbled upon an uneducated idiom concealing himself behind a childish anagram. Oh, you think yourself so clever because no one has drawn attention to your ruse. They are kind. I am not. And you are still not right.

    Your diploma is what serves up this world as a bed of oysters. It is why the candidate with a high school diploma gets a job pushing a broom and the candidate without finds himself a soup kitchen or a drug dealer. You are why legislators create laws protecting classes, by race, by religion, by gender, by pronoun, and by ability. The ADA and IDEA were not accidents. They were bodies of law legislated, underfunded, affirmed by the Supreme Court, and implemented throughout this country, because we are differently abled, not disabled. Because we are equal. Because Democracy is not a caste system. Because close-minded men like yourself were born into white privilege. Your certificate has been eliminated in several states within the last decade, because those states recognized that checking the diploma box on a job application is the very difference between an oyster and algae. You’ve apparently been too busy playing boggle to notice the geo-political-socio-economic storm that has unfurled through-out our country. No, we are not an oasis. But, we are far better than a certificate of performance in the circus that is no longer applicable to our daily lives.
    This new diploma conveys that I am different, not less. That I attained the standards my state and district and school established for me. This new diploma is what breaks the algorithm that makes it possible to pass the computer screen, to get the job unloading those computer screens and tv screens and door screens at Walmart and Amazon Distribution Centers.
    You call me emotional as if feelings are a terrible thing to have. I am compassionate and I am tempered by reason. Before your standard was THE standard, it was a right of passage for all children to adulthood, except the ones we imprisoned away in institutions. But for Geraldo Rivera, however much that makes my stomach churn, we would not see what lurked in the shadows. People like you who have no presence in defining the disability narrative. Anagrams.

    Our Legislators have decided that our differently-abled children do meet the standard of a diploma. They do get to check off the box on the computer screen that doesn’t even ask about Your certificate.

    This conversation is over, you may return to enjoying your white bread. Or you may go forth and cry-out that they are coming for us. The disabled are coming. Regardless, I am not kind and you are NOT right.

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    • I’m sorry you consider the conversation over. Clearly your degrees have not bestowed upon you the knowledge of recognizing some sort of fabricated sense of what is real.

      I have a very different opinion of what is fair and what society is. For that, you believe I am worthy of horrendous expletives. You madam, are ‘triggered’ and that is why your arguments for this fabricated diploma do not represent factual relevance.

      I will not change your mind. You believe standards and certifications are fluid. Why not make speed limits optional? Why not let anyone be a nurse regardless of ability to know a vein from an artery? Why not force employers to hire any warm body regardless of their ability to perform the job. If we are all ‘equal’ in ability, then there is no need to go to school, no need to earn your degrees, no need to get qualified because anyone can read books. You attack me for being somehow class or caste based. Far from it. I want our society to reward merit and effort. I don’t care what the piece of paper is. If the individual has merit, works hard, shows initiative, then I want them to get out there and get it done. A certificate does not prevent a special needs person from getting a job. It simply prevents them from being the psychoanalyst that might be able to explain why you are unwilling recognize my opinion.

      You insult me, You throw expletives at me. Alby calls me a crank. Do you not see a pattern? You believe your opinion is the only one that matters and that all others are evil. What makes Alby’s and your opinion the be all of the universe? Seriously, that is a very closed minded and very non-progressive attitude, but my viewpoint of adhering to standards is evil or white privileged?? I’m not even white!!

      Just read your characterizations: “differently-abled”, “High School Diploma of Modified Performance Standards”. You are using PC created, word-smithed descriptions for people who are mentally or physically unable to meet ESTABLISHED, APPROVED, and AGREED UPON standards for a BASIC High school diploma. You want to fake it. – (the student can’t pass High School so just lower the bar and give the student a diploma anyway) And you perceive this idea of basic standards as elitist or discriminatory. That is very scary to me because you think that is compassionate or acceptable to misconstrue facts.

      You’re right, it is over. America cannot go much longer with a split society where facts are meaningless and alternative opinions are considered hate speech. I am saddened for our children and our country when there are those like yourself who feel differing opinions are to be shouted down by expletives and insults. I do not claim to be right, I claim you are misled by desires to balance YOUR scales of justice. Your hope for something different by forced legislation upon everyone else is an attempt to take away other’s rights. My diploma is not the same as the diploma earned by a student who graduates at a 9th grade level. But you want them to ‘appear’ or be perceived the same. Perception is reality??? Sorry, I don’t agree. I have no intention of punishing or penalizing students who have diminished capacities however they should not be enabled to fake what others have factually earned.

      Good Luck Ellie. I wish you well and hope you can open your mind to more facts and less vitriol.

      Kevin, thank you for the opportunity to present my opinion. I am disappointed that language and insults of Ellie’s sort or not moderated in a more civil manner.

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      • I know better. I ended the conversation when I reached our impasse. I am trained to find a better route, above you, around you, below you, through you. And yet, your misconceptions are so glaring that I am breaking my own rule. Apparently, this conversation is not over. You writie “Clearly your degrees have not bestowed upon you the knowledge of recognizing some sort of fabricated sense of what is real.” What is real? Real is not being able to check the box on the application that says you received a diploma. It doesn’t ask for a certificate. It asks for a diploma. Employers have no value nor interest in your certificate. This new diploma removes one very substantial barrier to employment for a specific population.
        Your words convey that this an affront to you. It shouldn’t be. Society is fluid. Law is fluid. You talk about scales of justice without clearly understanding the metaphor. Lady Justice castes her eyes down so that she cannot see because justice should be blind to age, race, religion, sexual identity, gender, and disability. In her right hand, she holds a downward sword as a symbol that unjust action demands punishment. In her left hand raised higher than the sword, are the scales of justice. It is a symbol that between unjust action and punishment there is due process, that there is a burden that must be met before we can determine that a respondent is liable for that action. In civil law, the burden is a preponderance of evidence. How do you measure that? What is a preponderance? A preponderance is nothing more than feather that lands on one side of the scale and tilts every so slightly in the plaintiff favor. That is a preponderance of the evidence, the legal standard that demands punishment. That is the standard by which we judge right and wrong in civil society. I’ll spare you the criminal explanation. However, you are correct, I want the scales to tip in the direction that equally values human life, all of it.

        Again, you write, “I have a very different opinion of what is fair and what society is. For that, you believe I am worthy of horrendous expletives.” That, love, you earned. “You madam, are ‘triggered’ and that is why your arguments for this fabricated diploma do not represent factual relevance.” Donald Trump much? This isn’t fake news. However, if you want to travel down this road, the certificate did not represent factual relevance. Absolutely known. It was meaningless. It had no role in furthering a person’s future nor did it even come close to describing the commitment and dedication of the bearer.
        You believe “I will not change your mind.” Correct. You won’t. Which is why I felt it was necessary to end the conversation. You write “You believe standards and certifications are fluid.” Society is fluid. How many times do you see the word Abortion in the Constitution? Or DACA? Or Civil Rights? Or Gender Identification? Hint: We don’t. But, the Constitution was built to be fluid enough to change with the values of the society it governs. That’s pretty powerful. And it’s a power that you don’t understand as your following paragraph illustrates.
        Your paragraph, “Why not make speed limits optional? Why not let anyone be a nurse regardless of ability to know a vein from an artery? Why not force employers to hire any warm body regardless of their ability to perform the job. If we are all ‘equal’ in ability, then there is no need to go to school, no need to earn your degrees, no need to get qualified because anyone can read books. You attack me for being somehow class or caste based. Far from it. I want our society to reward merit and effort.” Then why are you arguing against a meritocracy? “I don’t care what the piece of paper is. If the individual has merit, works hard, shows initiative, then I want them to get out there and get it done.” Then why fight the key that opens the door? A certificate does not prevent a special needs person from getting a job. No, it simply locks them out of employment that they are capable of, but are denied because members of our society continue to fail to recognize that they have talent and skill, even though they can’t check the box. You opine,
        “It simply prevents them from being the psychoanalyst that might be able to explain why you are unwilling recognize my opinion.” Funny. I recognize your opinion. For me, for today, for this week, your opinion has been a pleasant distraction and a mild inspiration that compels me to do something I truly love – write.
        You cry “You insult me, You throw expletives at me.” But, Your lack of knowledge before your comment was an insult you hurled upon yourself. You earned the expletive. I don’t control Alby. I don’t know Alby. Alby is a hole in the wall to me. Sorry Alby. You add “Alby calls me a crank. Do you not see a pattern? You believe your opinion is the only one that matters and that all others are evil.” I wouldn’t have chosen the word evil. I think I described the factual basis and impact of your opinion and those similar quite clearly in my previous comment – Your Opinion is Not Right. More you:
        “What makes Alby’s and your opinion the be all of the universe?” You. Because you keep coming back for more. You can’t agree to end a conversation that will never reach settlement. More from you “Seriously, that is a very closed minded and very non-progressive attitude, but my viewpoint of adhering to standards is evil or white privileged?? I’m not even white!!” Ok, polka-dotted privilege. Does that make you feel better? Being of the non-Caucasian variety why do you disservice yourself by supporting gentrification.
        Knave: “Just read your characterizations: “differently-abled”, “High School Diploma of Modified Performance Standards”. You are using PC created, word-smithed descriptions for people who are mentally or physically unable to meet ESTABLISHED, APPROVED, and AGREED UPON standards for a BASIC High school diploma.” READ Your Sentence Again. There is a distinct difference between a Basic Diploma and a Diploma of Modified Performance Standard. I don’t want to fake it. I want to check the box. You want to fake it. – (the student can’t pass High School so just lower the bar and give the student a diploma anyway) That’s not what’s happening, it’s actually the opposite. We are giving an under-valued population a bar to strive for. Knave: “And you perceive this idea of basic standards as elitist or discriminatory”. No. I perceive the idea that attaining a diploma should be reserved for the non-disabled, neuro-typical variety of human as elitist and discriminatory. You claim fear and misconstrued facts There is nothing misconstrued here, except, perhaps, your ability to think outside your box.
        Knave, you write, “You’re right, it is over. America cannot go much longer with a split society where facts are meaningless and alternative opinions are considered hate speech.” Then stop peddling misconstrued facts. And you keep going, “I am saddened for our children and our country when there are those like yourself who feel differing opinions are to be shouted down by expletives and insults.” I didn’t shout. Though I have openly owned that your idiocy compelled me to use language I don’t particular care for nor use often. But, I did. You added, “I do not claim to be right, I claim you are misled by desires to balance YOUR scales of justice.” I believe I have explained the scales of justice and your failure to understand the legal metaphor. I am not balancing. I want that feather. You write, “Your hope for something different by forced legislation upon everyone else is an attempt to take away other’s rights.” This legislation does not take any person’s right from them. And the system that begat that legislation which was swiftly supported by both chambers and the governor is the foundation of our democratic government. You are correct when you write that “My diploma is not the same as the diploma earned by a student who graduates at a 9th grade level.” Yep. My diploma has a different name than yours. They will not be perceived as the same. You state that you “have no intention of punishing or penalizing students who have diminished capacities however they should not be enabled to fake what others have factually earned”. It’s not faking it. You don’t value the work that these children do during their time in high school. They aren’t faking anything. They are proving that given an alternative standard they have the ability to meet it. The employer asks about a diploma b/c they want a sign that their employee understands commitment, that they are investing in someone who will enrich their enterprise. The disabled have every right to show that they can do that too. Now, they have a method to convey their dedication. I am quite certain that employers aside from those who are hiring students from the vocational school care very little about the curriculum a student actually learned. That isn’t why the diploma question is on the application.

        “Good Luck Ellie. I wish you well and hope you can open your mind to more facts and less vitriol.” Mind is open. I bear no vitriol. You are just easily ruffled. Get a thicker skin and lose the anagram. It’s not doing you any favors.

        “Kevin, thank you for the opportunity to present my opinion. I am disappointed that language and insults of Ellie’s sort or not moderated in a more civil manner.”

        Yes, Kevin, please moderate me. I am clearly out-of-control, uncivil, insulting, and generally a displeasure to your and your readers. Except maybe Alby.

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  5. Why not extend the modified diploma to all students not just the 1% of the population. If I read the article correct the special needs population have problems meeting the standards. I’m sure there are kids who are not in that 1% that have the same issues maybe not through an identified special needs but through a language barrier or economic issues or problems at home that drive down performance in school. This bill on face seems to segregate the full student body and has racist overtones by looking away from the social needs of a minority student population by creating and catering to 1% of a student population who receive extra benefits while in the school system. So the Delaware assembly took care of the Special Needs kids to ensure they receive a diploma in order to allow them a better chance of receiving employment while leaving the minority undocumted alien or other person of color behind!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ellie,
      Seems we have one thing in common. We won’t agree with the other. Your responses are that of a person who wants what she wants and has never taken a course in logic. A+B=C Connecting dots (facts) is something that is very useful in my line of work. Rules, laws, values, are the framework, the skeletal structure, to hold the society together. Yes, things can change but you don’t want to comply with rules that you don’t like. You want them the way ‘you’ want them. A+B=C for most but you want it to be A+B= B+ except on Tuesdays when it could be C-.

      “They aren’t faking anything. They are proving that given an alternative standard they have the ability to meet it.”
      Answer this one question: Will job applications ask, ATTAINED HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA WITH MODIFIED STANDARDS? If the answer is NO, then they are faking that they have attained a High School Diploma. They haven’t attained one. They attained something else.
      Attend High School + Pass High School minimum standards= High School Diploma.

      Have your fun Ellie. You can live in your fluid world where rules are to be broken. When your life, or your livelihood, or your family is adversely affected by fluid adherence to rules and laws, you might recognize your over enlightened sense of things.
      “I want that feather.” No, you want society to accept your views of justice, your views of balance, your views of rules. Very selfish but that goes part and parcel with those who believe social justice TRUMPS facts.

      Here’s some reading for you.
      https://americanvision.org/1454/do-need-social-justice/
      You typify a large portion of it but here’s a very appropriate nugget:
      “social justice . . . owes its immense popularity precisely to its ambiguity and meaninglessness.” You have clearly described how to make a High School Diploma Ambiguous and meaningless.

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  6. Knave, I know your kind well. You always have to have the last word. I bait you and give you an out all in one and you keep on coming back for more, rather than just agree to disagree. The last person I encountered with this particular type of hubris cost her employer roughly $100,000. She had to have the last word until she literally typed herself into a lawsuit.

    All the attributes you prescribe to me are the very same ones that have made me competent and successful. Am I a rule breaker? No. I follow them to a painful T. I subscribe to process and policy. Some policy is just bad policy. I work within the system to advocate change, even if change is incremental. Am I fluid? Certainly. A gal has to know when to pivot and move on. See you on the other side my dear anagram.

    Like

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