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Policy & Initiatives

Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma

Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma

Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) leads a statewide coalition of educational and advocacy organizations and families who have come together to urge the creation of multiple pathways to a diploma in New York State, each of which holds all students to high expectations, provides them with quality instruction, and opens doors to career and post-secondary education opportunities. Members of the Multiple Pathways to a Diploma Coalition believe that measuring college- and career-readiness requires valuing several different and equally valid ways to evaluate students’ knowledge needed for success in the workplace and higher education. The Coalition seeks to maximize opportunities for diverse learners to receive their high school diplomas as well as draw attention to the barriers to graduation created by the focus on high-stakes standardized testing.

Background

The Coalition initially came together in 2007 to demand that the State address excessive use of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) diploma. Students in special education were given the option to earn an IEP diploma, which despite its name, was not a valid high school diploma and was not accepted by colleges, universities, or the military. Some school districts were using the IEP diploma to push students with disabilities out of school prematurely. After a series of conversations between Coalition members, individual members of the Board of Regents, and officials at the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the State eliminated the IEP diploma, effective July 1, 2013.

In January 2011, the State announced its intention to revisit New York’s graduation requirements, and the Coalition decided to focus on graduation requirements and diploma options more broadly. At that time, the Coalition’s membership began to expand. Currently, the Coalition is comprised of more than 60 advocacy organizations, educators, and families across New York State, representing a broad cross-section of students, including students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELLs), and economically disadvantaged students. Read more about the Coalition’s mission and core principles, view the Coalition's recent activities and public comments, and like the Coalition on Facebook

Policy Reports

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Rethinking Pathways to High School Graduation in New York State: Forging New Ways for Students to Show Their Achievement of Standards 
In December 2013, the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma released this report, prepared by Advocates for Children of New York, examining the difficulties that high stakes standardized exit exams pose for many students and addressing the need for more flexible exam requirements and assessment-based pathways to a diploma. The report outlines several recommendations for the State to improve access to a high school diploma while maintaining high standards that ensure college or career readiness. 

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Creating CTE Programs that Benefit Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners 
In January 2015, the Coalition issued an updated policy brief identifying barriers to CTE instruction for students with disabilities and ELLs and providing recommendations to SED and the Board of Regents for creating accessible CTE programs that will benefit these students. 








For more information regarding the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma or to inquire about joining, please contact Abja Midha at amidha@advocatesforchildren.org.