Governor candidates debate future of education

Blackwell plan:

Establish 15-member Ohio Board of Education Review to come up with a child-centered school funding system that meets the constitutional requirements of being “thorough and efficient” and allows state education dollars to follow individual children to the schools of their choice.

Take the board’s plan to voters in the form of a constitutional amendment.

Until the constitutional amendment is ready, seek legislative approval to allocate 65 percent of state education spending to in-classroom instruction – rather than extracurricular and operational expenses – increasing spending by $1.2 billion for teachers, teachers’ aides, general instruction supplies, field trips, athletics, music and art, as well as special education.

Create a $500 million fund from proceeds from the sale of the Ohio Turnpike to improve science, technology, engineering and math programs at universities and high schools.

Increase access to higher education by promoting more online, night and remote instruction.

Create the Project Partnership for Preparedness, led by business, to better dovetail college instruction to business needs and commercial research opportunities.

Establish Project Finish in Four, led by leaders in higher education, to explore ways of allowing students to get a bachelor’s degree in four years.

Challenge the Ohio Board of Regents to create premier educational centers.

Eliminate duplicative course offerings by making classes at community colleges transferable to four-year programs.

Initiate higher education choice option that links state dollars to the student rather than the institution.

Strickland plan:

Establish an Early Childhood Cabinet that sets and coordinates state policy and programs serving Ohio children ages prenatal to 6. Unite key state agencies around a common goal of promoting school readiness.

Invest an additional $50 million to expand access to early childhood education for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Accelerate statewide implementation of Step Up To Quality, Ohio’s consumer early care rating system and early childhood teacher professional development initiative.

Pursue all-day kindergarten statewide by pursuing incentives through the state basic aid formula that encourages local school districts to expand its availability.

Create a Knowledge Bank, in which the state would provide $500 in a savings account to every child born in Ohio, and contribute $100 every year thereafter, amounting to at least $4,000 when a student is ready to begin college. More will be contributed for those at or below the poverty level.

Establish two- and four-year tuition guarantees at institutions of higher education in exchange for state support, as a way of providing tuition predictability for families.

Improve teacher training so that teachers are qualified in the subjects they teach.

Create a more rigorous primary and secondary curriculum that better prepares Ohio students with knowledge and skills relevant to the working world.

Seek to double funding to boost online and distance learning technologies.

Support community and technical colleges and Ohio’s adult career centers to develop credit courses to boost entrepreneurship and business survival skills geared to small business owners, managers and workers.