Dear Milford School Community:
Milford School District takes pride in a rigorous and relevant coursework to prepare our students for the path they choose after high school, whether it be college or the workforce. Yet, the State of Ohio has changed the graduation requirements for the class of 2018, which based on current data could lead to approximately 20% of our current junior class not to graduate. Traditionally our graduation rate is 99%, so this new testing requirement would make a significant impact.
Ohio’s graduation requirements for the classes of 2018 and beyond include minimum credit requirements AND one of three options to show readiness for next steps in college and careers. The three options include earning a cumulative passing score of 18 points on seven end-of-course exams. Second, a student can earn an industry-recognized credential and workforce readiness score on the WorkKeys assessment. The third option is for a student to earn a minimum score on a nationally-recognized college admission test such as the ACT.
Please know that we are not concerned about rigorous graduation requirements. We are concerned that these high school end-of-course exams are not a fair and accurate measurement of students’ knowledge and skills. We have heard from our business community that students need to be able to think critically, collaborate, and communicate effectively. These tests do not measure the practical application of these skills.
We also believe that students are over-tested. There are SEVEN end-of-course exams. We feel Ohio should simply use the ACT test, a nationally-normed test used to benchmark college readiness, or industry accredited professional certification exams for students interested in vocational trades. However, neither of these options should be required for graduation.
Students in Ohio are getting caught in changing assessments that have morphed three times in three years. Ohio also requires assessments exceeding federal requirements. The state needs to follow the federal requirements and give back control to local boards of education.
We are disappointed that the state continues to make decisions that gravely impact Ohio students without necessary input from professional educators and families. In January, a small committee hand-selected by the Ohio Department of Education gathered in Columbus to address this issue that impacts nearly a third of Ohio’s Class of 2018 students who are at risk of not graduating based on these new standards. The committee was established after teachers, principals, parents, and superintendents statewide had voiced concerns about the future of these students. However, we are concerned that this committee, our legislature, and our Governor are not hearing what so many Ohioans are trying to say: Too many Ohio students are at risk of not receiving a high school diploma because Ohio is over-testing, and testing the wrong things.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please consider writing a letter or contacting our lawmakers to bring back local control. In addition to contact information for our lawmakers, we are sharing some sample letters to help you. (See below).
Thank you for your assistance. If you would like to read more about Ohio’s graduation requirements, visit the Ohio Department of Education at http://education.ohio.gov/.
Governor John Kasich, via Personal Assistant, Alex Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
State Board President Tess Elshoff, email@example.com
Local State Board Rep Nick Owens Nick.Owens@education.ohio.gov
State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative John Becker john@beckerGOP.com
Senator Joe Uecker at Uecker@OhioSenate.gov.
Samples of Emails/Letters on Ohio Graduation Requirements
Subject: Fix Ohio’s Graduation Crisis
I am writing you to voice my concern about the over-testing of students and the lack of local control in K-12 education. The job of educating our children should be up to the local Boards of Education, not the State of Ohio. I urge you to bring back local control of our schools. I also ask you to fix the current testing system.
Changing the assessment system three times in three years is hurting our students and making them less competitive with students from surrounding states. It is time that Ohio follows the federal guidelines and allows the schools to use the ACT test or industry accredited professional certification exams to assess college and career readiness. I ask you to take a hard look at this system and do what is right for all students across Ohio.
I am writing to you today because of the impending graduation crisis. I ask that you to speak on behalf of the children who attend Ohio’s public schools and against the inappropriate assessments and graduation requirements created by the Ohio Department of Education that will lead to a significant reduction in the number of high school graduates.
Without your immediate action and intervention, the graduating Class of 2018 will see its numbers reduced anywhere form 10% to over 70% in some cases. These non-graduates will limit enrollment in colleges and universities. Businesses will see a deeper reduction in an already depleted work-ready workforce. The military will see its number of recruits diminish.
Please allow local Boards of Education and teaching professionals to do their jobs. We must let teachers teach and students learn. Ohio is depending upon this support. Today’s students and tomorrow’s graduates are counting on you to stand up for their futures.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.