Dear Highlander parents,

Last month, a small committee hand-selected by the Ohio Department of Education gathered in Columbus to determine what to do because nearly a third of Ohio’s Class of 2018 students are at risk of not graduating. The committee was established after teachers, principals, parents and superintendents around the state pro-actively voiced concerns about the future of these students.

Our district strongly advocates for local control and we are disappointed that the state continues to make decisions that gravely impact Ohio students without necessary input from professional educators and families. However, we are concerned that this committee, our legislature, and our Governor are not hearing what so many Ohioans are trying to say:

Too many Ohio students are at risk of not receiving a high school diploma because Ohio is over-testing, and testing the wrong things.

The high school end-of-course exams are not a fair and accurate measurement of students’ knowledge and skills. We have heard from our business community that students need to be able to think critically, collaborate and communicate effectively.  These tests do not measure the practical application of these skills. We also believe that students are over-tested.  There are SEVEN end-of-course exams.  We feel the State should simply use the ACT test, a nationally-normed test used to benchmark college readiness, or industry accredited professional certification exams for students interested in vocational trades. However, neither of these options should be required for graduation. Students are getting caught in the changing assessments that have morphed three times in three years.

Ohio needs to follow the federal requirements – and give back control to local boards of education.


Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are required to test students annually in math and reading in grades three through eight and once in high school. Science must be assessed at least once in grades three through five, grades six through nine, and once in grades 10 through 12.  Over the last 20 years, the State has tightened its grip on school districts.  That trend accelerated when state leaders instituted mandatory end-of-course exams for graduation. The pendulum has swung to the point where local districts have very little say in a student’s education.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please consider writing a letter to our lawmakers to bring back local control.

Take Action by emailing: We have taken the liberty to compose a letter that you can copy and paste to send to our lawmakers.

TO: Governor John Kasich, via Personal Assistant, Alex Thomas, alex.thomas@governor.ohio.govState Board President Tess Elshoff, elshofftess@education.ohio.gov;  Local State Board Rep Pat Bruns, Pat.Bruns@education.ohio.gov;  State Superintendent Paolo DiMaria, superintendent@education.ohio.govCC: Representative Louis W. Blessing III, rep29@ohiohouse.govRepresentative William Seitz, rep30@ohiohouse.govRepresentative Brigid Kelly, rep31@ohiohouse.gov;Senator Lou Terhar, SD08@senate.state.oh.us

Subject: Fix Ohio’s Graduation Crisis

Dear Governor Kasich, President Elshoff, Superintendent DiMaria, and Mrs. Bruns,

I am writing you to voice my concern about the over-testing of students and the lack of local control in K-12 education. The job of educating our children should be up to the local Boards of Education, not the State. I urge you to bring back local control of our schools. I also ask you to fix the current testing system.  

Changing the assessment system three times in three years is hurting our students and making them less competitive with students from surrounding states. It is time that the State follows the federal guidelines and allows the schools to use the ACT test or industry accredited professional certification exams to assess college and career readiness. I ask you to take a hard look at this system and do what is right for all students across Ohio.

Sincerely,
Your Name
Your ADDRESS
Your City, Zip Code

If you have a student who is at risk of not graduating, here is a form letter to send.

Dear NAME,

My child has followed all the rules. However, he/she is now at risk of not walking across the stage and getting his/her diploma because the State is once again changing the assessment system and the requirements to graduate.  [Insert any information about your child that you want them to know.]

It is wrong to damage my child’s future due to a failed accountability experiment. Enough is enough. I expect you to remedy this situation, and let teachers get back to teaching and our children get back to learning.

Sincerely,

Your Name
Your ADDRESS
Your City, Zip Code

We thank you for your help in advocating for a return of local control.  Your voice DOES make a difference!

Best Regards,

Jeff Brandt
Superintendent
Oak Hills Local School District