Finally, something that makes sense- the Governor wants to increase the school year to 200 days to match the rest of the industrialized world. However, phasing it in over ten years is lame.
In his State of the State speech, (Gov.) Strickland also proposed school funding changes to bring the state’s share of the cost of education to 59 percent. With the changes, he and lawmakers would meet their “constitutional obligation to our children,” a reference to four Ohio Supreme Court decisions ruling the school funding system unconstitutional, he said.
The changes in education are aimed at moving Ohio ahead, despite tough times, he said.
“…we’ll take these steps with a very deliberative purpose. It’s because, as President (John F.) Kennedy once put it, ‘We want to be first. Not first if. Not first but, but first,” Strickland, a Democrat, said.
The changes, most of which would require approval by the legislature, include:
*Establishing all-day kindergarten in all schools.
*Phasing in 20 extra schools days over a 10-year period, bringing the learning year to the international average of 200 days.
*Expanding the school day with activities such as community service and tutoring.
*Establishing a four-year residency program for teachers to complete to qualify for their professional teaching license.
*Eliminating so-called “phantom revenue” from the school funding formula. The formula now assumes local school districts collect more revenue as property values go up, but state law doesn’t allow tax collections to increase with property values.
*Replacing the Ohio Graduation Test with the ACT college entrance exam, end of course exams, completion of a service learning project and submission of a senior project.
What is still missing is a commitment to Head Start and parental coaching. I wrote about how early childhood education is a better investment than remedial teaching later in this post: Should Dayton be investing in child care?
It’s also time to talk about a post HS year of service requirement nationally, in exchange for at least a 2-year associate’s degree at a community college.
America needs to get serious about education. Yesterday.