Passage of new College and Career Ready Diploma ends 8-year effort to strengthen Washington's diploma
OLYMPIA -- With overwhelming bipartisan support, the Washington legislature approved a new high school diploma designed by the State Board of Education to better prepare students for college and career. It goes to Governor Inslee next, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
The new diploma, which adds additional credits in science, art, world language, and career and technical education, will ensure that students graduate from high school prepared to meet expectations of Washington colleges and employers.
The state House approved an amended version of the bill on a vote of 93-5, and the state Senate concurred on a vote of 45-2.
The passage of the 24-credit diploma, also known as the College and Career Ready Diploma, is the culmination of an 8-year effort to strengthen Washington's high school diploma. In 2006, the state legislature directed the State Board of Education to develop an updated diploma that was aligned with college- and career-ready standards.
The College and Career Ready Diploma was championed by Senators Christine Rolfes, Steve Litzow, and Bruce Dammeier, and Representatives Cathy Dahlquist and Kristine Lytton.
Along with the State Board of Education, the Excellent Schools Now (ESN) coalition was a leading voice in favor of the new graduation requirements. ESN includes nearly 40 community organizations including Stand for Children, League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning, School's Out Washington and Tabor 100, which made the passage of the new diploma a top priority this legislative session. The coalition led a statewide campaign that organized thousands of parents in support, ran online and newspapers ads, and collected nearly 1,000 signatures.
The bill authorizes the State Board of Education to implement the 24-credit graduation framework statewide beginning with the class of 2019. It provides school districts flexibility in meeting the increased 1,080 hours in instructional time, empowers the Office of Superintendent of the Public Instruction to adopt career and technical education course equivalencies, and reallocates $97 million to support science labs, high school counselors, and materials, supplies, and operating costs to assist districts in implementing the new diploma.