As a state we produce a wide array of educational outcomes. Some of our K-12 school districts are outstanding performers and need little help from the state or outside resources. Other districts and schools are in dire need of assistance and so far the only solution provided by Kasich and the legislature has been Charter Schools.

The Charter School program has been a disaster for our most vulnerable students who have seen little to no improvement. We need to stop wasting taxpayer money on this failed experiment immediately and start taking responsibility for educating our kids. Step one is recognizing that there is more that goes into education than the quality of the teacher or the school. Many struggling students are dealing with environmental factors like food insecurity, homelessness, or a parent struggling with drugs and alcohol that make prioritizing school a challenge. If we want to help all of our students succeed we are going to need to integrate social services into our struggling schools to directly confront these challenges head on.

Further we need to make a high school diploma mean something again. A big part of the reason college costs have soared is that there is no longer a path from high school to a middle class career, which is increasing the demand for college exponentially. Unintentionally, the increase in number of those attaining Bachelors degree has decreased the value of degrees. Not only does it cost more, it is worth less.

Currently we have over 170,000 open positions in Ohio and our workforce is shrinking as the baby boomer generation retires. We can no longer afford to have students graduating unprepared to enter the workforce. We will need to work hand in hand with the business community to provide the skilled workers they need for a modern workforce. This will include developing new courses and career tracks in primary and vocational programs. Part of this early skills matching should include a statewide one day a week high school internship program that will give students real world experience and develop a pipeline for businesses to recruit young talent. Addressing our deficiencies in K-12 education will help reduce the costs for college as demand from students decreases.