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Ohio’s High School Graduation Crisis

March 15, 2017

Did you know that the Ohio General Assembly created new graduation requirements for students beginning with the class of 2018?

*High school students must score well on new state tests to graduate- beyond earning credits and good grades in school.

*One third of Ohio’s Class of 2018 is now at risk of not receiving a high school diploma!

*The percentage of non-graduates could reach 60-70 percent in urban areas.

*Students earn 18 points toward graduation on seven end-of-course exams. They can earn one point if they score as Limited on a state end-of-course exam, two for Basic, three for Proficient, four for Accelerated, and five for Advanced.

*High school pupils must achieve four points in Math, four in English, and six between Science and Social Studies, as well as an additional four points somewhere else.

*High schoolers must take exit exams in Algebra I or Integrated Math I, Geometry or Integrated Math II, American Government, American History, English I, English II, and Biology.

*Students will need Proficient scores on four of the seven tests to reach 18 points, or some scores better than Proficient.

*The tests have changed three times in the last three years.

*There are no federal regulations that tie graduation to standardized tests.

*The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows districts to use a locally determined, nationally recognized test like the ACT or SAT instead of end-of-course tests in high schools.

*A Certificate of Completion has been suggested as a solution to the graduation crisis. Getting into college without a diploma would be difficult, and students couldn’t get federal student loans with just a certificate of completion.

*According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a person without a high school diploma can expect to earn about $10,000 less per year than someone who has a high school diploma.

Thanks to Matt and Mandy Jablonski of Lorain County for inspiring advocacy and providing details about this pending catastrophe!

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Greg Power, Superintendent of Little Miami Schools, has urged his local community members to send an email to the state Board of Education, state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, and state legislators voicing their concerns about Ohio’s graduation requirements. https://littlemiamisuper1.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/having-our-say-on-graduation-requirements-we-need-your-help/

Public Education Partners urges all Ohioans to contact those in charge of public education policies about averting this pending crisis. In messages to the state Board of Education and Supt. Paolo DeMaria, add this additional request: Until Ohio’s graduation crisis is fixed, require that letters be sent from each high school to families of students not on track to graduate.

A template, created by Superintendent Power, is provided below.

CALL TO ACTION:  Send an email to:

State Board President Tess Elshoff, elshofftess@education.ohio.gov

State Board Vice-President Nancy Hollister, nancy.hollister@education.ohio.gov

State Board of Education, SBOE@education.ohio.gov

State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, superintendent@education.ohio.gov

Your State Legislators, https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/find-my-legislators

Subject: Fix Ohio’s Graduation Crisis

Dear NAME,

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. 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 for the state to follow the federal guidelines and allow 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.

Sincerely,
Your Name & Address

If your student is at risk of not graduating due to the state’s new graduation requirements, please consider sending this email as well:

Subject: Fix Ohio’s Graduation Crisis

Dear NAME,

My child has followed all the rules. However, (s)he is now at risk of not walking across the stage and to get a diploma, because the State is once again changing the assessment system and the requirements to graduate.  [Insert any information about your child that you want them to know.]

It is wrong to damage my child’s future due to a failed accountability experiment. Enough is enough. I expect you to remedy this situation, and let teachers get back to teaching and our children get back to learning.

Sincerely,
Your Name & Address

A sincere THANK-YOU goes to Supt. Greg Power for implementing this important call-to-action!

Until legislators cut back on high-stakes graduation tests, the future of Ohio’s children will be at stake!

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Voices

Mandy’s Story

I am Mandy Jablonski, a parent and public education activist from Lorain County Public Education Defenders. Toni Jones, a dedicated parent activist, and I did some research and put together information about the amount of money that every district in Lorain County has sent to charter schools over the past fifteen years.

Over $239,000,000 has left public schools in Lorain County, the majority of which came from the Lorain City School District!

We sent this information, a charter school resolution template, and a sample resolution from the Logan- Hocking District, to every superintendent in Lorain County urging them to join the three Lorain County districts, Elyria, Keystone, and Firelands, that have already adopted a resolution to invoice the state of Ohio for money lost to charter schools over the past fifteen years. Read our email:

Dear Lorain County Superintendents:

Is your school board RESOLUTIONARY?

In accordance with Public Education Partners Call To Action and in conjunction with the ongoing public declaration by Lorain County Superintendents to take back local control of our school districts, the leadership of Lorain County Parents Supporting Our Children and Teachers has taken the liberty of calculating the amount of state funding that each district has unscrupulously been forced to hand over to educational thieves, more commonly known as Charter Schools.

As shown on the attached spreadsheet, since fiscal year 2002, a grand total of $239,062,557 has been stolen from our Lorain County public school districts. Lorain Public Schools have incurred the largest loss of funding with a 13 year total of $125,563,241. These figures were extrapolated from data supplied by the Ohio Department of Education on their website.

Are you aware that Lorain gives almost one-quarter of their state funds to charters? They are in academic distress and in danger of a full state takeover. How are they supposed to help children if they do not have the resources they need? Think of all of the support staff and new programs that money could be spent on. You might also be surprised to know that Avon Lake will give 19.20% of their state money to charters in fiscal year 2016.

Lorain County Parents Supporting Our Children and Teachers is painfully aware of the potential of the “Youngstown Plan” unfolding in our own backyard and we feel strongly that Lorain County civic leaders, school districts and taxpayers need to unite and refuse to allow such an educational atrocity to happen to the children of Lorain City Schools on our watch. Exposing this loss of funding to charter schools in Lorain and county-wide is a vigilant step that needs to be taken to uncover these unethical practices and rally EVERY taxpayer within EVERY Lorain County district to fight against the reformers.

In addition to the spreadsheet, also attached is a resolution template, as well as a sample resolution and invoice that Logan-Hocking School District sent to the ODE to demand repayment of funding that their district and children lost to charter schools. We have included everything for you so as not to drain any of your resources and enable you to execute this Call to Action in the most swift and efficient manner.

Thank you Elyria, Keystone and Firelands for having already boldly answered this Call To Action, as requested by concerned parents in your district (Mandy Jablonski-Elyria and Toni Jones-Firelands). Twenty-Nine school boards have already passed resolutions to call attention to how, year-in and year-out, money is being taken away from traditional public school systems to support charter schools that traditionally have much lower academic achievement rates than public schools. When will your district be added to this elite list?

It is our sincere hope that each of you will take advantage of the tools we have shared with you today and take urgent and immediate action. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you, as the voice of the parents, for any future endeavors related to regaining local control.

Sincerely,
Lorain County Parents Supporting Our Children and Teachers

Our group also noted the amount of money that each district in Lorain County received from the state for Fiscal Year 2016 and what percentage of those funds went to charter schools. The Lorain City School District is forced to send almost one-quarter of its funding to charter schools!

Lorain County Public Education Defenders encourages other activists to send this information to their school boards, and urge them to adopt the resolution as well. Adopting this resolution will make the public more aware of how charter schools are funded at the expense of traditional public schools. It will also send a strong message to the state that they must, at the very least, change the way that these poor performing charter schools are funded.

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