Senator: Ohio’s softer graduation rules not likely to be extended


A key state senator said Tuesday that Ohio is not likely to extend softer, non-test-based graduation pathways to the Class of 2019, despite a state school board recommendation to do so.

The current rules for the Class of 2019 and beyond say that in addition to earning 20 course credits, students have to meet one of three test-based standards — at least 18 of 35 points on state exams, remediation-free scores on the ACT or SAT, or industry credentials with a passing score on the WorkKeys exam.

RELATED: State board pushes to extend non-test graduation options

But in January, the state school board recommended extending for two more years a set of graduation pathways that were offered to the Class of 2018 — a combination of good senior-year attendance and grades, a “capstone” project, or work/community service hours.

Peggy Lehner, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said Tuesday that she would advise schools to assume that the test-based requirements will stay in place for next year. She said that’s because preliminary state test data seems to show enough students are meeting the 18 test points barrier that the graduation rate wouldn’t be that different.

“We need to stop changing this every year,” Lehner said. “If there’s something wrong with the law, lets fix the law and make it work.”

RELATED: New non-test graduation options spelled out

Lehner said if final state test data this summer or fall shows an unexpected change in that test passage rate, the state legislature could make a late adjustment.

Regardless, this is the second year in a row that a class of Ohio high school students will head into their senior year with some doubt about what rules will determine whether they graduate or not.

“The challenge is getting the state board on the same page with the (legislature), so that we have the same goal for every child in the state of Ohio,” said Charlotte McGuire, the state school board member who represents much of the Dayton area. “Every child should know what’s expected.”

EARLIER: State board weighs extending graduation options

Kara Morgan, the lone state school board member who voted against extending the softer standards in January, said Tuesday she thinks the state should fully analyze data on the existing graduation pathways before making a decision to change them.

State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said that the extra graduation pathways for 2018 “seem to be well received and filling the need that was identified,” but he said the state won’t have really good data on how many students are using each of those pathways until individual schools report it through the state’s information system.

“We need to figure out what is the data telling us about how well these pathways that we have in place already are working, and then understanding what other options need to be developed,” Morgan said. “I still feel like we haven’t let that process prove itself or disprove itself yet.”

YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Ohio, Dayton education stories of 2017

Many high-performing suburban Dayton-area school districts had 85 to 90 percent of their Class of 2018 students earn the 18 state test points needed for the primary graduation pathway, according to school officials.

But that leaves more than 200 students who relied on the new pathways among just five districts – 54 in Kettering, 62 in Beavercreek, 36 (and rising) in Northmont, 28 in Miamisburg, 26 in Fairborn. This news organization has requested that data from all local school districts, but has not heard back from all districts. Some districts that traditionally have lower test scores likely will have many more students relying on the alternate pathways.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Ex-Disney World dancer claims she was fired over pregnancy in lawsuit
Ex-Disney World dancer claims she was fired over pregnancy in lawsuit

A former aerial dancer at Walt Disney World has sued the resort alleging gender discrimination, saying she was fired after she became pregnant with twins and went on an 11-month leave. Krista Crowder filed the lawsuit in state court in Orlando, Florida, last week. It doesn't specify how much money she seeks. In the lawsuit, Crowder said she...
Air Quality Alert for some today; storms and humidity to end week
Air Quality Alert for some today; storms and humidity to end week

Butler and Warren counties are under a Air Quality Alert from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. today.  Nice again today with highs in mid-80s Clouds roll in and humidity rises tonight Thunderstorms over weekend, possibly severe Friday Today: Mostly sunny skies are expected with some increase in clouds late in the day and evening...
Husband, wife accused of raping children, committing sex crimes over 10-year span
Husband, wife accused of raping children, committing sex crimes over 10-year span

A west Tennessee husband and wife are accused of committing sex crimes against children over a 10-year span. John and Dava Henley are charged with two counts of rape and four counts of aggravated sexual battery.  John Henley is also charged with aggravated rape of a child and rape of a child, according to the indictments. Investigators...
Fort Hunter Liggett tent collapse: 22 injured at California military base, officials say
Fort Hunter Liggett tent collapse: 22 injured at California military base, officials say

More than 20 people were injured late Wednesday when a tent collapsed at Fort Hunter Liggett in California, officials said. Update 2:26 a.m. EDT July 19: According to the military base’s official Twitter account, 22 soldiers were hurt when “a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter landing’s rotor wash blew over a tent structure&rdquo...
1 hospitalized after mobile home fire in Clark County
1 hospitalized after mobile home fire in Clark County

UPDATE @ 3:15 a.m: One person was transported to an area hospital after a fire occurred at a mobile home in South Vienna early Thursday morning. Fire crews responded to the 10000 block of Buena Vista Road just after 2 a.m. on a fully involved trailer fire, according to initial reports. Damage estimates were not immediately available, however,...
More Stories