NYSED Mixed Messages on the CDOS

“Students with special needs are also eligible for a Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential, which recognizes his or her preparation and skills for post-school employment.

Students exiting high school with the CDOS credential would be considered “high school completers,” and would not be included in graduation or drop-out counts, said Jonathan Burman, an Education Department spokesman. This option began with the 2013-14 school year.”

The above is a direct quote from NYSED posted in this article in lohud.com this past May.


This is a pretty clear cut example of “spin” out of NYSED because we no longer get straight answers from that department.

If you are not a high school graduate, and you are no longer in high school, and do not have a diploma, then what are you? How do you answer that question on an on-line job application?

wal-mart job app

And more spin from NYSED:

“Students who are unable to earn a regular diploma because of their disability may graduate with the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential as the student’s only exiting credential”

This is a bold face lie. The students who only earn a CDOS are not “graduates” according to NYSED’s own regulations. NYSED states that they are eligible to stay in school until 21 in order to pass the Regents and earn a diploma.

“If the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential is the student’s only exiting credential and he/she is less than 21 years of age, the parent must be provided prior written notice indicating that the student continues to be eligible for a free appropriate public education until the end of the school year in which he/she turns age 21″.


So, graduate, not graduate, sounds like “not graduate” to me.  From my close reading of the CDOS memo from NYSED, I think they are trying to confuse parents and students.

Here is something that I noticed yesterday.  Below are screen shots of graduation statistics that I pulled from NYSEDs own report from January.  I pulled the one from West Hempstead in February, I pulled Smithtown this week.  Note that CDOS was not listed on West Hempstead, but is now listed on Smithtown.  So, CDOS has been added, in conjunction with the IEP diploma, which is defunct as of the cohort of 2011.  In the same Regents meeting in January, where this report was discussed, Meryll Tisch dismissed parents concerns about graduation requirements for SPED students by saying that “the IEP diploma wasn’t anything anyway”.  First, I am so sorry I never thought to get a screen shot of that statement because the meetings are close captioned. Second, it shows Tisch’s total lack of understanding for what the Board of Regents has done under her Chancellorship.

west hempsteadsmithtown

Finally, posted on August 26, 2014 on the link listed below:


“A model certificate for award of the New York State (NYS) Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential is now available. Each school district is responsible for developing a certificate at the local level that is similar in form to the district diploma. The certificate must not use the term “diploma” and it must indicate that the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential is endorsed by the NYS Board of Regents as a certificate of readiness for entry level employment.”

The certificate must not use the term “diploma”, so clearly not “graduation”.

I was in a conversation with a parent who was sure that the child was all set to graduate because the child passed one Regents exam and there was not a requirement to pass additional Regents exams.   That is not the criteria for a diploma, but it does meet the criteria for a student to be eligible to earn a CDOS.  This parent, now confused and angry, has to wait until the end of August to get clarification from the school district.

There are parents and students who do opt to take the CDOS option over struggling through 5 Regents, and there is validity to that.  I hear story after story of SPED students struggling to pass 5 Regents, even with the 55 safety net, taking Regents as many as five times before calling it quits, thinking maybe they can pass the GED (the new version, the TASC as an 80% fail rate). But, the CDOS, if done correctly, could be a valid path to a valid technical or vocational diploma.

Action items:   Call your legislators, call your Regent.  Talk to other parents, organize a meeting in your school district, or organize a meeting with a neighboring school district.  Let NYSED know that the CDOS, as it stands now, is an unfair and confusing credential.


2 thoughts on “NYSED Mixed Messages on the CDOS

  1. Such BS. Remember our CDOS kids will be competing w/ college grads for those $15/hr FF jobs.

    Employer: “Oh you have a CDOS? WTH is that? Wait, so did you graduate or just show up for 4 years? You’re going to need a job coach too? Next.”

    ‘Sheltered workshops’ now deemed illegal by NYS, thanks to advocacy from employed, functioning disability adovocates (Google ASAN).

  2. Forget the military, they will not be considered as high school graduates. I wonder how the Military Entrance Processing Stations will class CDOS.

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