By MARIA KACIK
BRUNSWICK â€” Education today is different from when Gov. Ted Strickland grew up in Southern Ohio, where he went to a one-room school that had no running water and one teacher for four classes.
On a visit to Brunswick High School on Friday, two students showed the governor an interactive Web site they designed for the school system.
â€œWeâ€™re a long way from that one-room school. Nobody ever imagined the possibility of a computer when I was in the first, second, fourth grade,â€ Strickland later told a crowd in the schoolâ€™s auditorium. â€œAnd now Iâ€™ve got a young man who can walk out and show me how to use a Web page and have a depth of knowledge that I do not have. I am so proud of these young people who are going to be able to do things that I cannot do.â€
Brunswick Mayor Dale Strasser (center) presents Gov. Ted Strickland with the key to the city during the governorâ€™s tour of the technology center at Brunswick High School on Friday. (Andrew Dolph | Staff Photographer)
Itâ€™s no coincidence that Strickland spoke at Brunswick High School when he visited the city on Friday. He has plans in the works for the stateâ€™s schools. After touring some of the high schoolâ€™s facilities, Strickland gave a speech that outlined what he foresees for education in Ohio.
â€œEducation has exploded. There is so much more to learn. So much more to master in order to be able to really compete in our economy today,â€ he said. â€œAnd thatâ€™s why I believe thereâ€™s nothing we can do thatâ€™s more important to the future of our state and our nation than making sure we are providing our young people with a high-quality education, beginning with the early years in life.
In his State of the State address last month, Strickland unveiled a plan for what he sees as the future of education. He proposes the state add 20 additional education days to each school year over 10 years and expand kindergarten from a half to a full day.
He also suggested longer teacher training, with educators undergoing a four-year residency program before receiving their teaching license.
â€œI honor teachers. I respect the profession. I think teachers â€” just like pilots and doctors â€” have lives in their hands. And we want to stress teacher quality,â€ Strickland said.
Just like a doctor completes a medical residency after completing medical school, he said teachers would spend four years being â€œmentored by an experienced teacherâ€ before they take on full teaching responsibilities.
Strickland also proposed all schools undergo annual performance audits.
And the studentsâ€™ performance would be gauged regularly, too. All students statewide would take an â€œend of courseâ€ exam, complete a service learning project, submit a senior project, and take the ACT exam at no charge before they graduate.
He suggested that instead of taking the current Ohio Graduation Test, the new system of measurements â€œwould give us a more complete and more accurate picture of what our students are learning.â€
But to address the changes, the governor said a new system of funding would have to be in place. Strickland said as the plan is implemented over the eight years, the state would increase its share of funding up to 59 percent.
Strickland said the changes might create an additional load on state and local governments, but he said now is the best time to go through with them.
â€œWe are in the midst of an economic storm. There may be a temptation to pull back from education and say, â€˜Why would we move forward now, why would we try to do something new now,â€™ â€ Strickland said. â€œThis recession will come to an end. And when it does, the states who have continued to provide a high-quality education, those are the states that will be able to take part in that recovery and move forward.â€
Kacik may be reached at 330-721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.