Private School Diplomas

A private school in Maine is offering a quick fix to Florida seniors who can't pass the FCAT.

Making it to the cap and gown gala means making it past the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, better known as the FCAT, but it appears some Sunshine State students having trouble taming the FCAT are seeking solace states away.

"It's shameful, this is a piece of paper these kids are getting at 255 dollars a pop," says Francis Marine of the Florida Department of Education.

North Atlantic Regional School, a private school in Maine, is issuing high school diplomas to seniors who flunk the Florida test, but DOE calls it a pointless piece of paper.

North Atlantic Regional School administrator Steve Moitzo says it's astounding that education officials in Florida would express such a public opinion about a private school, and he says that the diplomas are earned, not purchased.

In Maine there is no exit exam and diplomas are based on credits alone. Moitzo says so far about 150 diplomas have been issued to students in Florida who are using them to enter Florida colleges.

Florida state officials haven't seen the diplomas and doubt they will.

"The FCAT is probably an easier exam than SAT, and since Florida State requires SAT, (they) probably won't be able to get a good score on SAT either," says John Barnhill, Director of Admissions and Records at Florida State University.

The tenth grade FCAT is equivalent to a 720 on the SAT. The North Atlantic Regional School diplomas cost $350.