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Governor Holds First "Conversation on Education"

Governor Strickland held the first of his Conversations on Education Tuesday at COSI in Columbus. It's the first of 12 meetings he's convening around the state to solicit input for reforming Ohio's education system.

Gov. Strickland says he'll talk about paying for a reformulated educational system later. His state-wide conversations on education are designed to solicit, he said, the public's input for changing the current educational approach.

"I believe that the mission of our schools should be to ensure that every child in Ohio has an opportunity to succeed economically, succeed in becoming a well rounded person, and in becoming a productive citizen," Strickland said. "Our schools must create learning environments that foster and nurture creativity, innovation and global competency."

Gov. Strickland lay down guiding principals at the outset. He said the state's commitment to public schools is paramount; that education and economic prosperity go hand-in-hand; that the strengths of the present system would be maintained. Schools should strive to identify how each student learns, he said, then implement appropriate techniques. But the governor spent most of the hour and a half listening to audience members offering their own suggestions.

Charley Wilson is a parent and a Worthington School Board member.

"What we have in terms of education in this country is a passion deficit," Wilson said. "Education is not about filling an empty vessel, it's about lighting a fire. And we've got to do our reform in a way that light's that fire."

Artist Jim Arter suggested that comprehensive training in the arts might make a difference:

"What better way to instill an environment to do that and develop those critical thinking skills than through the arts," Arter said. "So I would highly recommend that in the formula that we design for the future of the schools that infusion of the arts across all the subject matters be considered."

Robin Taylor said she believes parental involvement is an important part of the process.

"I would love to see accountability not only for our schools, not only accountability for our teachers and students; but our parents need to come to the table and be held accountable as well.

The governor will hold other meetings in cities that include Akron, Chillicothe, Cleveland and Youngstown. The last meeting is September 15th in Mansfield.