Graduation standard delay does children a disservice

Time and again, officials at colleges and universities tell us we are not preparing our students to attend their institutions. That is fine with them, of course — they get to charge more for extra semesters in which students take remedial courses to get them up to where they should be. Employers willing to hire those who choose to begin their careers after high school graduation have similar complaints.

Young people are not ready for the workforce; they are not ready for post-secondary education … but somehow, they received high school diplomas.

Ohio was going to address that. Lawmakers intended to put in place tougher graduation standards, so students are prepared to take their next steps after graduation. In fact, beginning in 2018, students were to be expected to either score at least 18 out of 36 points on end-of-course exams, earn a remediation-free score on a college entrance exam or earn an industry-recognized credential or a minimum score on a workforce-readiness test.

Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Lawmakers were told the schools could not help students reach those standards in time, so the start date was pushed back a year. Still not enough time, it seems. Now the standards may not be in place until the class of 2020 is ready to graduate.

So, the new standards are necessary to fulfill our responsibilities to Ohio students … just not the kids graduating at the end of this year. Or next.

Any good parent will tell you, giving kids the easiest path possible does them a disservice in the long run. Sure, allowing teachers and administrators to put off making changes that will truly prepare them for life after high school might seem like the easy way out, for now. And thousands more kids will be released into the next phase of their lives without the tools they should have been given.

“While adults in the education system will rejoice if this change becomes law, students taking an easier path … will be left to pay the ultimate price,” Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy and advocacy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, told another publication.

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