Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) tasked local school districts with creating plans to target students at risk of dropping out of school that will keep them on a path to earning a high school diploma in his February 24 state of the state address. He said 24,000 students drop out of high school in Ohio every year, joining the ranks of more than 1 million adults in the state who do not have a high school diploma.
“Dropping out is a dead end. It can lead to a life of unrealized dreams. It can lead to poverty. We need to help get these kids back on track,” Kasich said.
Kasich stressed that districts should think creatively when developing plans to curb the state’s high school dropout rate. He suggested alternative paths to a high school diploma, including real-life job training instead of sitting in a classroom. “We’ve got to have the courage to think outside of the box because we have to reach every student,” he said.
Kasich also wants to target adults without a diploma. He announced plans for an “innovative system” that would allow adults without a high school diploma to work with two-year colleges to receive credentials, job training, and a diploma.
As another effort to keep students engaged and in school, Kasich announced a new initiative—Community Connectors—that aims to bring schools, parents, community organizations, faith-based groups, and business leaders together with students in a mentoring program. He requested $10 million from the Ohio state legislature from lottery receipts to fund the mentoring program. Students who take part in Community Connectors would learn workplace etiquette as well as culture and values like hard work, discipline, and personal responsibility.
Kasich went on to stress the importance of dual-enrollment opportunities for students that would allow them to receive high school and college credits simultaneously, both of which would better prepare them for success in higher education.
Finally, Kasich focused on the changing landscape of higher education in Ohio. He announced that public colleges and universities will no longer receive state funding based on enrollment. Instead, the institutions will only be paid when students complete courses and degree programs.
“This is a big deal for our students and our schools,” Kasich remarked.
Kasich ended his remarks on education by stressing the importance of an education system in Ohio that equips every citizen for success throughout their lifetime.
“We must have a system that allows you—in the twenty-first century, in the global marketplace—to consistently upgrade your skills so that you’re in control of your own destiny and one day you don’t wake up and find out you don’t have the skills to compete and win,” Kasich said. “And that is our philosophy. It’s not just K—or pre-K—through J-job. It’s going to be all the way through your lifetime.”