Tougher Diploma Requirements Marching Down the Aisle
If students’ performances in 2006 are any indication, thousands of Ohio’s students will not receive a diploma. Some districts have nearly 100 percent of students passing the exam, which can be taken up to six times over grades 10, 11 and 12, while others have passing rates as low as 26 percent.
Beyond practical reasons, there is the fact that high school graduation is a rite of passage from youth to adulthood. That sheepskin carries emotional weight. As one superintendent put it, “Perhaps there is not another moment in life like the one when you receive your diploma. It is a moment you have worked 12 years to achieve.” How much more meaningful that day will be when the diploma actually signifies students are prepared for the demands of employers and higher education.
For all these reasons, come this time next year state and district officials should hold the line by requiring students to pass all portions of the OGT to receive a high school diploma, and not bow to pressure from parents and hostile educators to grant “appeals.” To be sure, the OGT requirement makes the paper chase harder. But it’s an important step in ensuring a first-class education for every Ohio student. And that’s a legacy that will endure long after the strains of Pomp and Circumstance fade.