LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - State lawmakers recently approved a new type of diploma for high school students in the state of Louisiana.
Career diplomas will soon be available alongside the traditional diplomas.
These diplomas allow ninth grade students to start taking more vocational classes and fewer traditional classes to graduate with a career diploma.
"It's not a watered down diploma, it is a different diploma," says David Clayton, Superintendent of Jeff Davis Parish School District. "They could offer a strong basic education, but with some career course options."
Unfortunately, local school districts say they do not have enough time to implement the diplomas this school year.
The school districts in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis Parishes all want a waiver from the board of elementary and secondary education.
Since Louisiana has a high school graduation rate of 70%, with 30% of the students not graduating from high school, school officials decided career diplomas could boost the graduation rate in the state.
"That would make these kids more interested in staying in school rather than becoming a statistic and a dropout," says Clayton.
"I think this program is doing to decrease our dropout rate. Kids aren't going to be frustrated with having to do advanced math," says Lena Arceneaux, a parent with a child in high school.
Fortunately, this program will not stop students from attending college later in life.
"They would go through a two year college, and then at the end of those two years they would be able to transfer to go to any four year college they want to," says Clayton.
Students must meet certain eligibility requirements before they can be considered for a career diploma.
These include attendance, behavior, and LEAP standards.
For more information on the waiver and a comparison of the curriculum's required of each diploma click on the web extra links to the right of this story.