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Published: 2/10/2006

Officials urge discussion of educational standards

Two local state senators and a local high school principal agreed that Ohio Gov. Bob Taft's call for more rigorous K-12 course standards needs more debate before any sort of endorsement or implementation.

Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) and Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) both focused on the dollars and cents of the plan during a taping of The Editors television program this week.

"The worry is always, how are we going to pay for this mandate?" Ms. Fedor said of the plan, which was the centerpiece of Governor Taft's State of the State speech last month.

Val Napieralski, principal of Early College High School and former principal at Bowsher High School, agreed.

"If we're going to do that, we're going to have to have many dollars, in our district at least," she said.

But all conceded that educational standards in Ohio needed improvement.

"I think it's fairly clear, especially when we look at other states, that our students aren't taking the type of rigorous curriculum that really prepares them well," Mr. Gardner said.

Ms. Napieralski added: "In high school, we have not had the emphasis that the younger grades have had. We know we have more work to do."

But Ms. Napieralski said she was dismayed that every student would be required to adhere to the new plan - a point disputed by Mr. Gardner.

Ms. Fedor objected to the plan's timing, saying it followed a "jumbled" set of priorities at the state level when it came to education. She said about 5,000 Ohio teachers were laid off last year.

But Mr. Gardner objected, saying education dollars made up a higher percentage of the state budget this year than previous years, and budget drafts submitted by Democrats and Republicans had miniscule differences in terms of educational funding.

Mr. Gardner predicted Governor Taft's plan would not be rushed through the state legislature.

"To have a hard mandate is going to be a great challenge. My prediction is that the legislature will take more time than the governor was asking," he said.

The Editors will be broadcast at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.



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