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Ohio high school graduation crisis to deepen without swift legislative action

Emergency fix ready to go in Ohio House
November 12, 2018
Tavia Galonski News

State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today publicly released her October letter* to House Speaker Ryan Smith (D-Bidwell) asking for his support to move her legislation, House Bill 630, which would give career-ready Ohio high school seniors the opportunity to graduate in 2019 and 2020. Without legislative action, 51,893 Ohio high school seniors will not graduate this year, according to Ohio Department of Education data.

“As the State School Board and many in the legislature, under your leadership, move to bring Ohio standards in line with modern day needs and workforce demands, I ask for your support for House Bill 630 to meet Ohio seniors where they are in 2019 and 2020 by ensuring these career-ready students are not being held back by an outdated system,” Galonski wrote in her Oct. 24 letter to Speaker Smith.

Galonski’s legislation mirrors alternative pathways that were extended to high school seniors last school year. Without alternative pathways to graduation, many students are at risk of not graduating this year due to an overreliance on standardized testing – an approach that has been roundly criticized in a bipartisan way by legislators, teachers, parents and education experts.

“I believe House Bill 630 would be instrumental in providing alternative pathways for career-ready high school students until the legislature can fully engage the incoming administration on long lasting educational reforms that truly prepare Ohio’s children for a lifetime of success. I respectfully ask to work with your office, the education chairman and our Senate counterparts to make House Bill 630 a priority in the final weeks of the 132nd General Assembly,” Galonski concluded in the letter.

The Akron lawmaker, who serves on the House Education Committee, tried to amend HB 630 into HB 216, but the measure was blocked on party lines. Galonski is hopeful Speaker Smith responds soon and makes HB 630 a priority during before the legislature closes out the 132nd General Assembly in December.

Letter to Speaker Smith