Mason Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline and a team of district leaders joined a protest of hundreds of state school leaders in Columbus last week to advocate for more local control of high school graduation requirements. “We continue to be concerned about the erosion of our local school board's authority - and the dismissal of our professional educators' voices when it comes to important issues impacting our students' lives,” said Gail Kist-Kline, Mason City Schools Superintendent.
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Over 30 percent Ohio high school students are at risk of not receiving diplomas because of strict graduation requirements that are in effect for the class of 2018, and Kist-Kline expressed concerns that about 15 percent of MHS students are not on track to graduate.
The problem stems from three years with three different tests - and new end-of-course exams that replaced the Ohio Graduation Test. Students now must earn 18 out of a possible 35 points on seven end-of-course exams taken during high school, receive an industry credential in a career field or get a "remediation-free" scores in English language arts and mathematics sections of a college-entrance exam.
But as for the end-of-course exams, educators don't know what is on the test, making it nearly impossible for districts to help students pass them.
"This situation is one more example where the State has made the rules without any input from people in the field - and the consequences of that lack of input are significant for students and their families. We strongly urge the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent to work with local leaders to fix this problem, and to get us involved in the front-end of changes.