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At-Risk Kids Face Gap in Opportunity Says Ohio Attorney General

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at the City Club of Cleveland. [photo: Annie Wu / ideastream]

Invoking the words of President John F. Kennedy, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine spoke at the City Club of Cleveland on Wednesday about the “unfinished business” of Ohio.  Ideastream’s Annie Wu reports.

That “unfinished business,” according to DeWine, is the problem of at-risk kids, not just in urban areas but in every county in Ohio…

There exists in this state today a very significant gap.  It’s a chasm really.  It’s a gap in opportunity. 

DeWine blamed problems of poverty, crime, and educational disparities for holding some kids back from achieving the American Dream.  He pointed to the Breakthrough charter schools in Cleveland as an example of a public institution that’s trying to change the trajectory of economically disadvantaged kids. And he told the story of a girl enrolled in the work study program at a Christo Rey Jesuit high school in Columbus. 

When she first went to the school they asked her, “What do you want to be?” She says, “You know, I’m good in math.  I think I can be a cashier.”  Today, after being in this for a couple of years, being part of the work study, you ask her, “What do you want to be?”  She says, “I’m good in math.  I want to be a CFO.” 

DeWine said government plays a role in helping at-risk kids but he had few specific ideas.  Instead, he emphasized the importance of private individual efforts.

Annie Wu is the deputy editor of digital content for Ideastream Public Media.