High School Graduation—Rahm’s Plan Worse than Ohio’s Terrible Plan, But Arne Loves It
I had imagined it would be pretty hard to come up with worse high school graduation requirements than the new Ohio plan endorsed by Governor John Kasich. Watching the state move toward the implementation of our new graduation requirements a year from now is like watching a train speeding down the wrong track. It is expected that nearly a third of the students in Ohio’s Class of 2018 won’t be able to accrue the required 18 points—based on their cumulative scores on end-of-course exams—to graduate from high school next June. Remember that the cut scores on high stakes exams are not in some way scientific, but can be raised or lowered depending on how many students politicians want to pass or fail.
School superintendents from across Ohio have been holding protest rallies at the statehouse, and this week even the Ohio State Board of Education proposed a one-year emergency exemption to allow students to graduate from high school in June of 2018, as long as they have passed all their classes even though they may not have scored high enough on the tests. The State Board suggests that students could make up for low test scores with, “some career training goals or by doing things like having strong attendance or classroom grades their senior year.” For the members of the State Board to oppose Governor Kasich on this matter is pretty amazing. After all, eight of the 19 members of the Ohio State Board of Education are appointed by the governor and most of the rest of them are members of his party.
But Chicago’s mayor (who also runs the public schools) Rahm Emanuel just came up with a more punitive and less workable plan to toughen up. Here is the Chicago Tribune: https://janresseger.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/arizona-expands-privatization-of-education-yet-again/
Arizona is no stranger to the privatization of education. It has had charter schools, online charter schools, tuition tax credits and the newest iteration of privatization—Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Tuition tax credits and education savings accounts are particular types of school tuition vouchers, by which children are granted tax funded coupons to pay all or more commonly part of private school tuition. An education savings account program expansion was signed into law late last week by Arizona’s governor. Now every single child in the state will be eligible, though at this time there are enrollment caps—to be expanded gradually over time— on how many students the state will underwrite each year. ESAs are basically an experiment in totally portable school funding.
Here is Dana Goldstein describing Arizona’s ESA expansion in the NY Times: “The bill, which the State Legislature passed on Thursday, makes all 1.1 million public school students…
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