Ohio school board wants lawmakers to extend softer graduation rules

Trotwood-Madison High School staff members prepare students for their commencement ceremony last year. FILE

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Trotwood-Madison High School staff members prepare students for their commencement ceremony last year. FILE

If Ohio lawmakers approve a recommendation made Tuesday by the state school board, softer graduation requirements that aren’t test-based will be extended for two more years.

The board voted 16-1 to recommend the rules — already in place for this school year — be added for the Classes of 2019 and 2020.

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Rules require students to receive 20 course credits, but they no longer would have to pass state tests. Instead, they could graduate by completing any two of nine alternate standards. Those include senior-year attendance and grades, a project or community service.

If state legislators approve the policy, it still would need the governor’s signature to become law.

Some state board members think districts and students needed stability regarding the rules.

Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy and advocacy at the Fordham Institute, argued for higher standards, saying too many high school graduates don’t have the skills necessary for college or the workforce.

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The state school board’s resolution also set a timeline for establishing long-term graduation standards, calling for a recommendation from state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria in October, a state board committee vote in November, and a vote by the full state board in December 2018.

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