Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Governor's State of the State in Steubenville

AICUO President C. Todd Jones attended Gov. Kasich's State of the State speech in Steubenville this afternoon at Wells Academy, an elementary school located within Steubenville High School. Wells is the highest ranked elementary school in the state and is one of the state's more innovative schools.

The city's pride was apparent from casual conversations with others in the audience who attended high school in the same building. The distance from Columbus and much of the rest of the state did little to deter most of the members of the legislature from attending.

Standing in front of what is undoubtedly one of the largest Ohio flags in existance, the governor put the problems of the state's past economic difficulties in context by noting that over one-third of baccalaureate graduates leave the state within three years. The bulk of his speech focused on jobs and a business revival. However, it was clear that the governor sees the link between the future economic success of our state and it's higher educational institutions.

As his speech drew to a close, he noted the link between successfully graduating in four years and the development of an educated workforce. Much of his focus was on reforming the state's public institutions, but in a sense, rethinking the state's ongoing investment inefficiencies with public colleges is the necessary path to making resources available for the less glamorous--but more direct--path to the improved graduation rates he seeks: closing the financial gap for the state's poorest students who need financial assistance to complete their degrees in Ohio.