New Rule Removes Barrier To Diploma For Some Students
April 13, 2004
MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA--High school seniors in Alabama must pass a state exam in order to graduate -- even if they have completed all other required course work.
Some students, parents, and educators have seen this requirement as another barrier to success for students with certain disabilities.
Last month, the Alabama state Board of Education passed an emergency rule which allows students with learning and other disabilities to graduate, even if they have not passed the state graduation exam.
"The state's new rule is a good idea," George Myrick, 19, told the Montgomery Advertiser.
Myrick, who has cerebral palsy and finds reading difficult, will graduate with his classmates next month. He hopes to enroll at Auburn University Montgomery to become a physical education teacher.
"One little test shouldn't affect your overall outcome. It's been difficult and frustrating because I can't see for long periods of time," explained Myrick, who took one portion of the test four times. "I was actually hoping the (rule) would pass, but I was trying my hardest to do the best I could."
Until recently, students with learning disabilities could not have any help on the graduation exam. Under the new rule, special education students can receive the same kind of help on the graduation exam that they got in their classes.
According to the state's director of special education, about 13 percent of Alabama's 770,000 public school students are diagnosed with disabilities.
"Disabilities taken into account" (Montgomery Advertiser)