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Published: Sunday, 8/12/2012

Letters to the Editor

Bill would connect all Ohioans to phones

You argued in your July 31 editorial "Land-line disconnect" that a bill before the Ohio Senate, which reforms the state's carrier of last resort regulations, would result in lost telephone service for Ohio's poor and elderly. To the contrary, the bill will open the door for greater access to connectivity for all Ohioans.

For 100 years, Ohio has required local phone providers to provide land-line service to the public. As new technologies such as wireless and broadband have emerged, the old rules have stayed in place.

So while consumers have been shutting off their land-lines in favor of smart phones, the state continues to require phone companies to invest in outdated land-line infrastructure.

Consumers have made their voice clear. Today, more than a third of all homes in the United States are mobile-only. Nearly six out of 10 adults under age 30 have no land-line telephone.

These numbers aren't unique to specific racial or socioeconomic groups. Fifty-six percent of renters use only cell phones. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "adults living in poverty (51.4%) were more likely than adults living in near poverty (39.6%) and higher income adults (28.9%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones."

Freeing up funds for companies to invest in wireless and broadband infrastructure would benefit Ohioans in many ways other than voice service. Health-care organizations could more readily share critical patient information. Our children could have more access to educational opportunities through connected networks.

Ohio's economic outlook could benefit. Two-thirds of Ohio businesses have adopted broadband, and 20 percent of Ohio businesses earn revenue from online sales.

This bill isn't about shutting off phone service, as you imply. A recent study by Kleinhenz & Associates estimates that only 48,000 Ohioans live in areas that are served by four or fewer phone companies. The majority of Ohioans have plenty of service options, including land-lines.

Ohio can be a leader in the nationwide effort to provide wireless broadband service to all residents. The Senate overwhelmingly approved this bill in a bipartisan fashion this year.

The House is considering the legislation. It is a thoughtful and responsible approach to providing the communications infrastructure that will improve access and reliability for Ohio's future.

John McClelland

Executive Director Technology for Ohio's Tomorrow Delaware, Ohio

For-profit colleges wrongly depicted

I strongly disagree with your Aug. 7 editorial "Failed schools," in which you say that for-profit colleges "promise too much, deliver too little."

To the contrary, the graduation rate at Ohio's for-profit career colleges is 52 percent, compared to 14 percent for community colleges. More than 70 percent of career-college students find jobs in their field of study within 90 days of graduation.

Although for-profit colleges serve more low-income and working students than public or nonprofit colleges, independent research comparing Ohio's colleges and universities found that the student loan default rate for Ohio career-college students is 10.3 percent.

The default rate for community college students in Ohio is 8.2 percent, higher than expected given that tuition at tax-supported community colleges is about a third of that at career colleges.

Career colleges and schools are highly regulated by the Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools and numerous accrediting bodies. We do not need Congress to pass new rules to "fix" the default problem, unless these rules apply to all sectors of higher education.

R. David Rankin

Executive Director Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools Columbus

Put ideological differences aside

Your editorial praises a biased report by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) that vilifies private-sector colleges and universities.

Projections suggest our country needs an additional 20 million workers with post-secondary education skills in this decade. Private-sector colleges and universities are essential to meeting this demand by educating 3.8 million students with the necessary skills and training to enter the work force immediately.

In academic year 2009‐2010, the 155 private-sector colleges and universities in Ohio educated 103,489 students and employed 8,585 staff. These students represented nearly 10 percent of the 994,670 students enrolled in Ohio's 353 post-secondary institutions.

Rather than leading a bipartisan charge to improve all higher education and meet the demands on the work force, Senator Harkin continues his attacks on our schools by releasing a report that focuses on ideology over reality to make a case for more laws and regulations.

We can work together to address the challenges that face the higher-education system. Let's start by recognizing that there are good and bad schools in all elements of higher education.

Then, let's accept that state regulators, accrediting agencies, and the federal government already have significant authority to deal with any problem schools.

We need to provide access, outcomes, and opportunity for all students in an era of deficit reduction. To do that, we must put ideological divisions behind us.

Steve Gunderson

President and CEO Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities Washington

Collegiate sports can cause trouble

Big-time college and university football and basketball programs have a detrimental effect on undergraduate education ("Penn State gets $60M fine, ban from bowls; Scandal erases 111 Paterno wins," July 24). The Penn State affair shows that the deification of the people involved in such programs endangers much more than education.

Sadly, we seem to be willing to put up with it.

Raymond Heitger

Darlington Road

Flag should’ve been at Craig bridge

I was happy to see that the national World War II memorial flag came to Toledo, but I was sad to see that it was not flown from the Craig Memorial Bridge ("Colors of history unfurl across Point Place bridge," Aug. 6).

Robert Craig received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously in World War II. The bridge carrying I-280 over the Maumee River is named in his honor.

I had the privilege of knowing his parents and holding Mr. Craig's medal. His parents were customers on my Blade route in the mid-1960s. I wish I had met more people like them.

James Crossen

Ward Street



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