Two weeks ago, we reported that Florida was going to stop awarding regular four-year diplomas to students who graduate through its GED Exit Option program. But the announcement came through garbled; administrators, parents, and teachers believed the GED EX OP program was simply being abolished. Furor followed, since it seemed that students would be unduly punished for an early-exit decision they had made in good faith. Now Public Schools Chancellor Frances Haithcock has issued another "clarifying" memo. She wants to be "clear" that students who enrolled in the program in 2008-09 or earlier are grandfathered in, meaning they will receive the standard diploma for completion of the GED requirements. Further, she "clarifies" that the policy is intended to bring the program into line with both state and federal laws, which prevent the awarding of regular diplomas to GED-takers. (But don't be confused by the fact that under state law GED-takers are still counted in the graduation rate but under federal law they are not.) Finally, she wants to make sure everyone understands that the adult-GED program (for those who have already dropped out) is not the same as the EX OP program (for those who have not), and these changes affect the latter not the former. The bottom line is this: We figured out most of this two weeks ago and if parents in Florida simply read the Gadfly, there'd be no need for any more clarification from the clarifiers in Tallahassee.

"State clarifies Fla. GED diploma ban," The Associated Press, August 18, 2009

"State will allow current students to earn GED exit option diploma," by Ron Matus, Tampa Bay Times, August 15, 2009

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