The Canton Repository, Sept. 17
Until Ohio stops trying to measure every district — big, small, urban, rural, rich, poor — with a one-size-fits-all test that doesn’t take into account the unlevel playing field inherent to such a diverse state, what conclusions can anyone really draw from report cards that turn one day’s raw numbers into a yearlong letter grade?
On Thursday, the state released its annual school report cards. The results were a mixed bag of positives — higher raw numbers at the same time the state again raised the bar on what it considers a passing grade for some of the tests — and such negatives as continued B’s and C’s (or worse) for districts that by other measures are told they far exceed state (and in some cases, national) averages.
Over the past few years, Ohio has phased in tougher learning standards, changed the tests it uses and raised expectations of what students should know when they graduate. We applaud the state for setting lofty goals.
At the same time, we remind the state — and parents and boards of education — that we all must look well beyond the “snapshot of performance” testing provides to seek out, find and celebrate successes in other ways that often can be as meaningful and significant.
The Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 15
Last Friday, as America’s attention was focused on Irma, a monster hurricane bearing down on Florida, the nation hit a different sort of high-water mark: The national debt exceeded $20 trillion.
Earlier that day, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law suspending the debt ceiling; months of pent-up demand from budget maneuvers, employed to avoid exceeding the cap, prompted the Treasury Department to begin borrowing billions more.
Surpassing the $20 trillion debt mark is an indicator of the nation’s perilous financial condition. Every dollar we spend today ties up money in future budgets for interest payments; these are dollars that won’t be available in coming years for government, social services and defense.
Eventually, the government will face some kind of default, either on its obligations to its creditors or its promises to citizens. Politicians’ dreams of robust economic growth — just around the next corner! — will not bail us out of this Category 5 financial storm.
Our nation’s standard of living faces a dire threat. Solutions exist, but Congress and the administration must work together to enact structural fiscal reform, take a scalpel to spending, and begin paying down the debt.