Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Hi-School - Certificate of Completion
The "Certificate of Completion or Attendance" that is being offered in lieu of high school diplomas, is a part of Bush's "No Child Left Behind". This is how it works:
It is for students who are unable to pass both the Language Arts and Math portions of the
1. Drop out and go to a GED program or, 2. accept a "Certificate of Completion" - it is NOT a diploma. Once a student accepts it, they cannot ever get a diploma or a GED. A certificate of completion means that a student can never (as long as they live):
1. go to the armed services
2. go to college
3. go to trade school
4. go to journeyman's school
5. go to beauty school
6. go to culinary arts school
7. get a federal loan in their lifetime
This is the portion of NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (2001) that Bush slipped in during the 2004 revision of the NCLB bill. It has not been publicized. At a high school in Indiana, in 2005, there were
This is being referred to as the "Paper Plantation". It is better for students to drop out and get into a GED program so they may seek other forms of education, later in life, if they desire to do so. All
Origins: This exhortation to eschew "Certificates of Completion" (CoC) began circulating in the online world in April 2006. While not everything in it is wrong (its claim that a CoC is not a diploma is correct, for instance), most of its claims are untrue. Topping the list of untruths is its assertion that those who accept CoCs are for the rest of
In general, a Certificate of Completion signals that its holder has indeed completed required course work in high school and has met that aspect of the school's graduation requirements. Such recognitions are typically given to students who, while they have fulfilled the coursework required of them from year to year, failed to pass key exit exams.
Each state sets its own high school graduation requirements and determines what aspects of secondary school education its students need to satisfy to qualify for high school diplomas (versus Certificates of Completion). Despite what the
CoC holders are not barred from obtaining high school diplomas. They can also serve in the armed forces (provided they meet the entry requirements of whichever branches of the service they are interested in) and obtain federal loans (with the exception of student aid loans to underwrite further education, as such loans require applicants to possess high school diplomas or GEDs). The
As for students' entering trade schools, CoCs alone will likely not open those doors because such institutions usually require applicants to have either high school diplomas or GEDs, and CoCs are neither of those. However, given that CoC holders can still obtain their high school diplomas, having CoCs does not (as the
The hoax e-mails contain numerous inaccuracies, including the relationship between state graduation requirements and No Child Left Behind, the ability to receive federal loans, and descriptions of state law and schools in Indiana and Illinois.
Each state sets its own requirements for high school diplomas, General Educational Development tests (GED) and "Certificates of Completion." NCLB does not change those state definitions, but does require, for NCLB purposes, that states calculate a graduation rate that is based on a "regular high school diploma." In practice, this means that a GED or "Certificate of Completion" does not count positively in the graduation rate calculation.
Similarly, most colleges and most trade schools require a high school diploma or its equivalent for entrance, so anyone holding a certificate of completion would need to go back and complete the necessary academic requirements to get a diploma before they can apply for admission to the school, and apply for federal student aid. This requirement existed before the No Child Left Behind Act.
In addition, according to Indiana officials, there are several inaccuracies about Indiana in the
The e-mails also include the erroneous claim that NCLB was "revised" in 2004. In fact, NCLB was enacted on
For additional information about the No Child Left Behind Act and other education initiatives, please visit the Department's Web site at http://www.ed.gov.
For additional information, the general public may also call 1-800-USA-LEARN (872-5327).
Barbara "sheepskinflint" Mikkelson
Last updated: 31 May 2006