Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Taft Delivers Final State of the State Address

Gov. Bob Taft (R-OH) delivered his last State of the State Address as Ohio's Governor in the statehouse this afternoon. In his speech, Taft devoted much attention to the issue of education and said, "Unfortunately, we also know that in Ohio too few high school graduates are prepared for college or a well-paying job. The evidence is overwhelming that when it comes to our high school students, it’s not just about graduation. It’s about preparation.
Only one in three of Ohio’s high school graduates have the skills they need to succeed in a good entry-level job, an apprenticeship, the military, or in college.
And our students know it. A survey of recent high school graduates found that 39 percent of those who went to college and 46 percent of those who went straight to work said they were not well prepared. They said that if they’d only known, they would have taken tougher courses in high school. "

While Gov. Taft is undeniably correct about the continuing devaluing of a high school diploma in this country, his State of the State address remarkably (sarcasm) lacked any details on how he would strengthen high schools throughout Ohio to ensure the value of a diploma does not continue to decrease. I know Taft has felt the issue of education is (was?) an issue near and dear to the heart of his Administration, but little has been on that front recently. The most recent reform in education came from the federal level with passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Taft only very briefly mentioned the scandals and crimes that have plagued both himself and his Administration within the past year saying, "Workers’ Compensation has been an asset for Ohio in the competition for jobs, and it will be again. We’ve got a new leader and management team hard at work transforming the Bureau to better serve injured workers and employers." Taft did not mention his midemeanor conviction for failing to report golf club outings that were actually campaign fundraisers.

Taft's State of the State Address essentially reflected his current state: lame duck. Taft feebly attempted to promote some sense of a positive legacy that he can leave behind in Columbus when he will be leaving the Governors' Mansion next January. But if the approval ratings recently released by Survey USA are any indication, 76% of Ohioans simply cannot wait for him to leave office, including this one.


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