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Oklahoma Board of Education grants three more diplomas

The Oklahoma Board of Education has granted diplomas to three more students who did not meet state graduation requirements. State Superintendent Janet Barresi stepped in to vote on a debate about a fourth student, though she cast the final vote to deny the student a diploma.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: June 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm •  Published: June 29, 2012

The state Board of Education granted waivers Thursday to three more high school seniors who did not meet state testing requirements. All are from Tulsa Union Public Schools.

The board has granted graduation waivers to five of 38 students it has voted on, with about 70 more applications to consider.

A 2005 law called Achieving Classroom Excellence requires that students pass four of seven end-of-instruction exams, also known as EOIs. Each senior must pass the exams to receive a diploma.

A new law passed in April required the state Education Department to set up an appeals process if a student is denied a diploma. The law allows the board to give students a waiver because of extenuating circumstances. A waiver can only be granted for a single exam.

After three hours of meeting in private, the board discussed two students in an open session. They were identified as Norman No. 38 and Union No. 29.

Norman Public Schools was chastised for not encouraging student No. 38 to complete a project — an alterative to the EOI exam.

“The district is making that decision and they do not have that purview,” State Superintendent Janet Barresi said.

The student's appeal was denied.

The board also denied the appeal for the student labeled Union No. 29, despite an appeal from Gart Morris, a principal at Union High School. Morris said the student has moved many times throughout his life, including spending time living outside the United States. The student should have qualified for a special exemption but was not enrolled in a single school for a long enough time.

“Student 29 has worked diligently at his time at Union High School,” Morris said. “I would request you consider this perspective I have presented.”

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