Committee votes on final recommendation

This week, Ohio’s Chartered Nonpublic School Graduation Requirements Committee voted on a final recommendation. This recommendation reflected the belief of many of the members that nonpublic schools have a distinct role and philosophy, and that some state-imposed standards are not appropriate for these schools. The draft language, which was facilitated by the Ohio Department of Education, included strong protections for schools to focus on their academic mission and practices, while providing significant assurances to the state that schools will follow their self-developed standards for graduation. This issue is significant because it strikes at the heart of the private school philosophy, and while assessments can be valuable, they must be implemented in a way that does not alter a school’s curriculum and pedagogical practices. This is an approach that has been successfully implemented in many states and a recent report by the American Enterprise Institute indicated that flexibility and autonomy are a key factor in Florida’s successful scholarship programs and consequent academic gains.

While this is a positive development for nonpublic schools in Ohio, particularly in light of the state’s transition to a series of 7 end-of-course assessments as a prerequisite for graduation, the committee’s recommendation is not binding. Agudath Israel will vigorously work with the legislature and its coalition partners to ensure that the private nature and autonomy of private schools is encoded into law. Agudath Israel thanks Senate President Faber for appointing its Ohio director, Rabbi Yitz Frank, to the committee and for his continued support on this issue.