EP super still not happy with grad requirements

EAST PALESTINE — Public outcry from school superintendents across the state last year may have led to some leniency on 2018 graduation requirements, but some educators are still not pleased.

East Palestine Superintendent Traci Hostetler was one of the many who lobbied state officials last year against what they felt was an unreasonable requirement for 2018 graduates.

That requirement was that students must earn a minimum of 18 points on the seven end-of-course state tests.

Superintendents felt the requirement would result in a majority of students not receiving their diplomas.

“They anticipated about 30 percent of high school students would not graduate,” Hostetler told the board of education this week during a brief discussion about state requirements.

She went on to say that not graduating from high school is “like a death sentence” for students.

“We were lobbying hard against those requirements simply because it wasn’t what was best for our kids. I don’t think we should pigeonhole anyone … it’s good to see they are opening up a bit,” she said of the Ohio Department of Education.

Following approval from Gov. John Kasich, the ODE announced in August that two additional graduation requirements would be made available to the Class of 2018 only.

While students must meet all high school curriculum requirements and still take all seven state tests, one option is that those who earn a low score on any math or English test will be allowed to retake the test one time.

In addition, they must meet at least two of nine additional requirements, which could include an attendance rate 93 percent during their senior year, a GPA of 2.5 to 4.0 during their senior year, complete a Capstone project, or earn three or more College Credit Plus credits.

The other option (including satisfying all high school curriculum requirements and taking all seven state tests) is to finish a career technical program.