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Bill laments graduation project

The House Education Committee approved a watered-down version of a bill that puts on paper legislators' displeasure with the graduation project that public school students must complete to earn diplomas.

House Bill 223 basically rubber-stamps an action the State Board of Education took last month by delaying the requirement for one year, Lynn Bonner reports.

Under the bill and the state board's April vote, the requirement is delayed until 2011, though local school boards can still require a project as a graduation requirement for 2010.

The bill would also require the legislative program evaluation division study the project's cost and effectiveness.

Rep. Jimmy Love Sr., a Sanford Democrat, opposed the requirement first as an unfunded mandate. He later started to worry later the requirement would increase the drop out rate.

More after the jump.

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Love said the bill the committee approved was negotiated with the state Department of Public Instruction, including CEO William Harrison, and Sen. David Hoyle, who sponsored a similar measure.

The state education board loves the graduation project, which they say allows students to demonstrate skills they'll need in the working world: writing, producing a product, and speaking in public.

The N.C. Association of Educators likes the project, too.

Rep. Ray Rapp, a Mars Hill Democrat, spoke up for the project, saying that business leaders like the idea.

But the requirement stoked the ire of some students, parents and teachers who complained openly about the time and cost.

Rep. Angela Bryant, in an interview, said she questioned the state board spending so much time spelling out the project requirements, time she said would have been better spent working to reduce the dropout rate.

"I just felt insulted," said the Rocky Mount Democrat. "These people are crazy. I'm not seeing anything from them recommending increasing the graduation rate."

Rep. Bonner Stiller — implying that it's really parents who are going to do the work, not the students — said the project put children in single-parent households at a disadvantage.

Single parents wouldn't be able to free up enough time to do their child's project, said Stiller, an Oak Island Republican.


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Re: Bill laments graduation project

Kudos to Love, Bryant, and others who acknowledge the serious problems that will come with a large-scale implementation of this silly idea.

The fact that the NCAE likes the idea indicates how out of touch they are with actual teachers. Teachers already feel overburdened by the machinations of DPI, US ED, and LEA bureaucrats, and the graduation project would make matters worse.

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