Thursday, February 7, 2008

Today's Lesson Plan: The State of the State

By Elizabeth A. Delon

On Wednesday Governor Ted Strickland (D) talked to Ohioans about the state of the state.

According to Strickland Ohio is facing economic challenges but will continue to strive for improvement. During his second State of the State speech, Governor Strickland proposed a 1.7 billion dollar economic stimulus plan that he says should create about 80,000 new jobs in Ohio. The governor made clear in his speech that Ohio education is one of the important issues in economic development.

"Ohio used to have one of the most highly educated workforces in the country, but that is no longer true," said Strickland. And he says Ohio's higher education system is the driving force of the state's economy. According to Strickland, continuing to improve the education system will increase the number of higher paying jobs in the area.

(D) Governor Ted Strickland, State of the State Address

Educational Proposals

Increased Control of the Ohio Department of Education
Strickland wants a new education director to oversee The Department of Education. This will leave the state school board and superintendent with limited authority. The governor's plan would also require the Chancellor of Higher Education, Eric D. Fingerhut to create a new ten-year plan for Ohio universities and colleges.

Accessible High Quality Degrees
Strickland said, "the new ten-year plan for the University System of Ohio will guarantee that a high quality associate and bachelor's degree in the academic fields necessary to land a good job will be available on a campus within 30 miles of every Ohioan."

Strickland said this will expand the number of college graduates in Ohio. The governor believes that many people can't attend a full, four-year program because of families and work. A more flexible system also will cater to those citizens who are currently unable to attend colleges and universities because of distance.

"Senior to Sophomore"
The new Senior to Sophomore proposal would allow seniors to spend their fourth year of high school studying at an Ohio public university for free. Strickland hopes this will help push students to a higher standard and create a smoother transition from high school to college. Strickland wants Ohioans to stop thinking of high school as an "end in itself" so more high school graduates will pursue a college degree.

The program will build onto the current Post Secondary Enrollment Option plan. This plan would be implemented for the 2008-2009 school year. Students who participate will still receive their high school diploma but also earn college credits.

During his speech, Strickland also said several companies have announced new programs and projects that will increase and retain the number of jobs in Ohio. The companies include: Cardinal Health, Continental Airlines, General Motors and Ford.

Other issues addressed were energy conservation, and the possible creation of a new department to serve veterans.

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