Media statement on Senate Education Committee’s support for weakening Ohio’s graduation requirements

COLUMBUS (OH) – The Senate Education Committee today amended House Bill 491 to extend previously-relaxed graduation requirements for the class of 2018 to the classes of 2019 and 2020.

“Despite consistent feedback that too many Ohio high school graduates aren’t ready for credit bearing college courses and don’t possess the skills necessary to enter the workforce, the Senate is again rolling back what’s required to receive a high school diploma,” said Chad L. Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy and advocacy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “The point of raising the bar in the first place was to help students be prepared when they leave high school. While adults in the education system will rejoice if this change becomes law, students taking an easier path and left without an industry credential or grade level math and English skills will be left to pay the ultimate price.”

Rather than earning a diploma by successfully passing end-of-course exams, achieving remediation-free scores on the ACT or SAT, or attaining an industry credential and demonstrating workforce skills, students in the class of 2019 would be able to graduate by completing tasks from a list which includes a 93 percent senior year attendance rate, holding down a part time job or a volunteer position for 120 hours, and earning a 2.5 grade point average in their senior year. Students in the class of 2020 would have similar but slightly modified requirements.

“The modern world economy demands more of its workers than ever before. Unfortunately, instead of rolling up our sleeves and helping all Ohio graduates attain the skills necessary to earn a living wage and support a family, we’ve once again said that simply showing up is enough,” Aldis added. “If we believe that all students can learn, we owe it to them to provide the supports necessary to prepare them for the future.”

The amended legislation still needs to receive the approval of the full Senate and House before going to Governor Kasich for his approval.