COLUMBUS (TDB) -- House Speaker John Husted is using the phrase "Ohio's Diploma Dilemma" to describe the state's educational conundrums. He emphasizes the fact that high school graduation rates and college admissions are higher than most states, but campus dropouts wreck the stats and harm the prospects of economic growth.
''Our K-12 test scores beat the national averages and those of our Midwestern competitors, we now have a higher high school graduation rate that most states and we outpace the national average in the number of graduates we send to college. But here is where the success story ends because we have fallen behind the rest on the nation in the numbers of students who graduate from college and in the number of college graduates that populate our state,'' Husted told lawmakers in opening the 127th General Assembly. He said lawmakers need to solve ''Ohio's Diploma Dilemma, adding,"More of our citizens must complete certification and degreed programs."
The Republican from Dayton, who faces term limits in 2008, offered three suggestions:
1) ''We must make it easier to earn college credits for students who are still in high school; doing so makes college more affordable and increases the likelihood these students will attend college in Ohio.
2) "We must emphasize science, technology, engineering and math skills, because these are the skills most in demand in the economy and create the best jobs for those who possess them." [Husted wants to create STEM academies across the state. STEM is explored in great detail here at Writes Like She Talks. In fact, it is a primer on the topic.]
3) "I believe by strengthening and investing in cooperative education programs at our 2 and 4-year institutions -- employing students in Ohio businesses while they are still in school -- we make it more likely these students will stay here and be part of Ohio's economic renewal."
Of the three tasks, the first and last sound easiest to accomplish. Husted sounded a bit of urgency, noting that by 2015, nearly 90% of Ohio's jobs will require some kind of post-high school training or certification.