Significant changes could be coming to classrooms around New York soon after the Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures presented 12 recommendations to the state Education Department on Monday.

Among the top recommendations: replacing the existing three diplomas with one; incorporating ethics, financial literacy education, fine and performing arts, STEM credits and real-world writing skills into diploma credit requirements; and changing the diploma assessment requirements to create more assessment options.

What You Need To Know

  • The Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures presented 12 recommendations to the state Education Department on Monday

  • The commission used research, stakeholder feedback and personal feedback to analyze what it means to receive a diploma in New York

  • The recommendations included changes to diplomas, assessments, credit requirements and more

The commission also recommended moving to a model that organizes credit requirements into broader categories. For example, math and science classes could be included in a “STEM” category.

The commission suggested creating more specific graduation requirements to address certain students’ unique circumstances, such as being refugees or newcomers. Exempting students with significant cognitive disabilities or extenuating circumstances from diploma assessment requirements was also proposed.

“Every student has unique talents, skills, and interests, and a one-size-fits-all approach fails to recognize and nurture these differences,” Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa said in a statement. “We must remove barriers and facilitate equitable access to education by addressing the individual needs of students, increasing opportunities for work-based learning or college readiness programs, and providing students with practical skills and experiences that enhance their employability and post-secondary education opportunities.”

The recommendations emphasized providing students with crucial workforce skills as well. One suggestion included ensuring students statewide have access to career and technical education — including internships and work-based learning opportunities — and another recommended professional development plans include education practices that are “culturally responsive.”

The commission was tasked with analyzing what it means to receive a diploma in New York. It used research, stakeholder feedback and personal experience to make the recommendations, combining student voices with parents, educations, administrators, school support staff, higher education representatives and the business industry, the release said.

“The prospect of how the Blue Ribbon Commission’s work can change students’ lives was impactful throughout this process,” commission and state PTA member Robert Rijos said in a statement. “Making every child’s potential a reality with an education designed to meet the child’s needs is a forward-thinking initiative I was humbled to be part of.”

The education department will begin developing the proposed changes over the upcoming months, the release said.