The Ohio Department of Education is in full force, head-in-the-sand, denial. Those in charge of ODE want to institute a policy that highly favors rich children over poor. Disproportionately, white people over African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Their refusal to recognize the damage they are about to do to our children is mind boggling.
Here is one of many alarming scenarios: http://ohne.ws/2i74JjF
They say that schools have had three years to prepare for the coming graduation requirements. Not true. The goal posts are constantly moving. Since the graduation requirements were put into place, the standardized tests have changed each year, the passing marks have been arbitrarily changed, and resources have been stretched thin as schools have been forced to spend more than $200 million collectively, each year, to accommodate the tests to the detriment of student learning.
Test results measure wealth and little more. Wealthy school districts do well on these arbitrary, unvalidated, and narrow measurements while poor students do not. Instead of doing the hard work of creating solutions for poor districts, the ODE has decided to punish them for not being able to overcome underfunding, poor nutrition, bad health, lack of proper mental stimulation, bad eyesight, lack of sleep, overbearing stress, and more.
They say there has to be some standard. There have always been standards. Students have always been required to pass certain courses and accumulate a certain number of credits. Nobody is asking ODE to do away with those standards.
They say that there are three routes to graduation. Problem is, the other two routes are harder to accomplish than the 18 point accumulation route. All three routes require testing that is intended to measure whether a child is prepared for college. Every school in Ohio is now officially a college prep academy. If a student isn’t college material, they will be denied a diploma. Forty percent of today’s jobs require no college, but they do require a diploma.
If we deny poor children a diploma the consequences will be disastrous. First, the 40% of 2018 seniors who are denied a diploma will find it very hard to impossible get a job. Second, in 2019, we will see a massive increase in drop outs as those who see no hope of succeeding decide not to waste their time. Third, we will see an increase in crime as those who can’t get legitimate jobs, or jobs that pay enough to live, will seek alternative ways to create income. Fourth, poverty will increase as the rich, and their children, get richer while the poor get poorer and poorer.
ODE says they have almost two years to solve this problem while June 2018 is less than a year-and-a-half away. Rounding skills must not be on the test.
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that ODE wants nearly every high school graduate to be white and rich. They want public schools to fail so they can sell money making, underperforming, charter schools funded with your local property taxes that you approved for funding your neighborhood school. I would say that they are catering to money making test companies. I would say they are favoring well off computer companies. I would say that high paid lobbyists give large campaign contributions to make this so.
Just because I’m not a conspiracy theorist, however, doesn’t make any of these statements less true.
~A.J. Wagner, State School Board of Ohio – Retired