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Ohio's State School Board Holds Off on Enforcing New High School Graduation Requirements

The latest figures show only about two-thirds of high school students are on track to have the points necessary to complete seven end-of-course exams.

The state Board of Education is holding off plans to enforce strict new graduation requirements for high school students.  The change came when local school superintendents said nearly 30% of students may not make it. 

The latest figures show two-thirds of the graduating class of 2018 is on track to add up the necessary points on the seven end-of-course exams. A proposal to form a new working group to study the graduation requirements led to about seven hours of debate.

“This may have been the strangest bit of debate in my six years on the board, and I’ve been here for a lot weirdness,” board member Todd Jones said.

Jones was not in favor of lowering the minimum test scores needed to graduate, saying good local districts step up and see to it that their kids perform better

"The people we’re hearing from are consistently the ones whose districts are failing to perform under the system and whose kids have been shortchanged the past few years and not the ones who are doing something about it," Jones said.

New numbers show less than 40 percent of students in the high-poverty urban districts or in charter schools are on track. The head of the Senate Education Committee, Peggy Lehner, says they need to help kids in poverty.

"All these things we talk about, but we don’t fund and we don’t do. We can raise and lower standards all we want and cut scores and numbers, but at the end of the day we know 33 percent of our kids are not learning what they need to learn to be successful," she said.

A task force of two dozen members from around the state will make a recommendation on graduation requirements in April.