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Senate Budget Includes New Graduation Requirements Starting In 2023

Students listen to a speaker at a high school graduation in Lancaster in 2017.
Karen Kasler
Students listen to a speaker at a high school graduation in Lancaster in 2017.

The Senate budget includes a set of high school graduation requirements that could settle that issue, which the state has been struggling with for years.  The proposal in the budget comes from a coalition of business groups, school districts and a charter schools organization.

Students could pick from options including 20 credits of coursework, good final scores on basic English and math tests, and college or career prep.

That means at least two seals or endorsements from the state and local districts, in areas such as community service, workforce readiness, bilingual proficiency and military enlistment. Other potential state seals are for citizenship, science, and technology, requiring certain test scores or advanced coursework. Local seals include fine and performing arts and student engagement.

Senate Education Chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) said it’s a good plan.

“One size doesn’t fit all and we should have a variety of different ways for a student to indicate that they’re ready to move on to the next phase of their lives," Lehner said.

The state delayed graduation requirements in 2017and 2018because of concerns that as many as a third of students might not be on track to meet them.

Lehner said because of all the time spent discussing the issue, and because this plan has widespread school and business support, she’s feels it has a good chance of staying in the final version of the budget, though there was nothing on graduation standards in the House version.

On Monday, three key school groups wrote to the members of the conference committee, saying they oppose the addition of the graduation requirements in the budget. The letter from the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Ohio School Boards Association and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators also opposes the movement of $125 million in wraparound services funding into vouchers. And it supports the elimination of academic distress commissions and additional funding to fast-growing school districts.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at
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