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The Georgia board of education voted unanimously last month to eliminate the state's general diploma, a move that would leave students with the choice of pursuing either a college-preparatory diploma or one based on vocational-and-technical-education programs.

Public hearings on the proposal are planned, and the board is scheduled to take a final vote on the proposed change, which would first be applied to the class of 1999, in July.

Board members who pushed for eliminating the general diploma argued that it requires no more academic course work than a vocational diploma and that it does not adequately prepare students.

Some state education groups have complained, however, that the board has done too little to address the changes in curriculum, instruction, and counseling that will be needed if the state abolishes the general diploma.

Nearly 30 percent of all diplomas awarded last year by the state were general diplomas.

Werner Rogers, the state superintendent of schools, last month said he plans to appoint a task force to consider what the remaining two types of diplomas should require.

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