Talking Streets, Spans and Superhighways
After weeks of bad headlines, low poll numbers and disappointing fundraising, this week brought a major shakeup in the campaign of the Democratic candidate for governor. Two top aides to Ed FitzGerald left earlier in the week. A group of faith leaders started a week of Statehouse vigils to share their concerns about what they call divisive and extremist legislation that state lawmakers are pushing.
As many Ohio students started their first week of classes, opponents of the Common Core standards those kids will be taught started their first week of hearings on a bill that would repeal those standards. Before the hearings started, a group of educators and school administrators held a press conference defended the Common Core as a well-researched, proven set of benchmarks that still allow for local school boards to determine curriculum that supports them, including Steve Thompson, the superintendent of the Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools, and Eric German, the president of the Lincolnview Local School Board in Van Wert County. But opponents say the Common Core is an untested, expensive, federally-dictated set of standards that take away local control from district officials, teachers and parents. More than 50 people testified over three days of hearings featuring supporters of the repeal before the House Rules and Reference Committee – not the Education Committee. They included sponsoring Reps. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Matt Huffman (R-Lima), Fort Jennings teacher Rose Stechshulte and Ottawa resident Virginia Mack. But the repeal's chances may not be great, because Senate Education Committee chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) is strongly supportive of the Common Core, and Gov. John Kasich says he’s been supportive of the Common Core as well.
The summer driving season is almost over, but there’s never really an end to the attention paid to about roads, bridges and infrastructure in Ohio. Transportation is so essential to the state that it has its own budget. Talking about some of those issues are two transportation experts. Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont) is the chair of the House Transportation Committee. Gene Krebs is also a Republican and a former state representative from western Ohio who’s been a transportation expert for both the land-use think tank Greater Ohio and now the Center for Community Solutions.