Monday, February 24, 2014 at 9:35 PM
MICHELLE KANU / IDEASTREAM
Ohio Governor John Kasich devoted nearly 20 minutes to education in his annual State of the State speech on Monday night.
After giving a nod to the Cleveland Plan and hinting that he might support other districts seeking help from the state legislature to improve student achievement, Kasich raised a number of education initiatives his administration wants to work on in the future. That's pending, of course, that Ohioans reelect him this November.
Here are a few of the plans he previewed:
Target High School Dropouts
"There are ways to get to these young people. We have to think out of the box."
The governor says more than 24,000 students drop out of Ohio schools each year. The Ohio Department of Education often quotes a similar total, although the state doesn't exactly track a dropout rate. In the near future, Kasich says his administration will send ideas to the state legislature on how to keep kids from dropping out and will solicit suggestions from school districts too. Kasich says those plans may include taking students out of the traditional school environment and may incorporate on-the-job training in apprenticeship programs with businesses.
His plan may also include a way for the adults in Ohio who don't have a diploma to go to a two year school and get credentials or workforce training.
"This is a chance to listen to the better angel inside all of us."
The idea is to create a mentoring program of sorts that engages parents, teachers, businesses and community members to reach out to students. Kasich says he wants to take $10 million in casino revenue to match 3 to 1 any money donated to the program.
"Our kids need direction. They need to understand where they are going."
Kasich announced plans for an online system that will give students information about various in demand jobs, what skills they involve, and what they pay. Students would be able to access that information on their cell phones. A similar bill pending in the legislature would require school districts to distribute a career decision guide to students each year.
"How did we lose our way on vocational education?"
Kasich says he wants to make vocational education programs available for students as early as seventh grade. And he says students who take advantage of these programs--whatever form they'll take--won't interfere with them later going to a two or four year college.
"I believe every Ohio student should prepare for a degree while still in high school."
Kasich wants to expand the opportunities for high school students to take college level courses and earn credit that will count toward a degree. Dozens of schools already offer something similar through the Post Secondary Enrollment Option program.
"We're raising the standards for publicly funded, early childhood education so that more children enter school ready to succeed."
Kasich didn't elaborate too much here, and he did not say anything about the idea of universal preschool that cities like Cincinnati and Cleveland have trumpeted. But he did say the state will spend pre-k dollars in "ways that make a difference."
"Colleges and Universities will not get any of these state dollars that have gone to them traditionally based on enrollment. You know what they've agreed to do, they will only get paid if students complete course or if students get degrees. No more wandering around."
In addition to changing their funding model, Kasich says Ohio's colleges will try to connect students with an advisor or someone who will guide them through setting up a plan that will carry them through to graduation.
"They deserve our help to transition back into civilian life.We're starting a new effort to give them college and academic credit for the training and experience they've received in the armed forces and we want to give them these credits for free."
Kasich says veterans often learn engineering, truck driving, and advanced technology skills while in the military. The idea here is for vets to apply that training toward workforce certification. State Representative Anne Gonzales sponsored a similar effort last spring.