April 24, 2024

Understanding the Competency Determination Initiative Petition

What it Does, Who it Impacts, and How it Changes the Current Standards for High School Graduation

This November, voters in Massachusetts may be asked to approve or reject a number of proposals that either create new or amend existing state laws. These proposals, known as initiative petitions, are currently under consideration by the State Legislature. If the Legislature does not take action on a petition, it is placed before voters for their consideration.

One of the proposals before the Legislature is House Bill 4252, a petition which would eliminate any statewide standard for high school graduation, and return the Commonwealth to a time when more than 300 individual school districts established their own requirements for achieving the skills, competencies, and knowledge required to earn a high school diploma.

To fully understand this initiative petition and offer clarity to policymakers and voters, this brief poses five key questions on what the petition does, what it means for students, and how it changes the current standards for high school graduation in Massachusetts.