Editorials from around Ohio

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The (Newark) Advocate, Aug. 11

Big changes are coming to education in Ohio and other states wise enough to refocus on updated goals for what children should learn in today's world.

It's called Common Core, a set of standards for math and language arts for what students should know at every grade level. Ohio and more than 40 other states have joined the effort, including the development of new testing for the 2014-15 school year. ...

The only somewhat credible concern, to us, involves how the future tests will drive changes in local school curriculum, much like we've seen in Ohio in recent years where schools clearly aligned lessons to "teach to the test." However, the concern assumes the standards are bad to begin with, something that's not been proved. ...

One point often lost in education conversations is how our world's global technology economy forces schools to prepare children much differently than ever before.

Kids can't just graduate high school and find good-paying careers where they can support families. The education of tomorrow can't look anything like what you, or even your own children, experienced.

There's nothing wrong with our states working together to identify the educational outcomes experts identify as being critical for our next generation of workers.

In the end, it's up to students to take advantage of their opportunities.



The (Toledo) Blade, Aug. 12

It has been years since bad lending and bad mortgages conspired with Wall Street stupidity to crash the American financial system. But amazingly, no fix of the mortgage financing system has been forthcoming, or even proposed.

Now President Obama is taking on the mortgage-finance morass. ...

Obama wants gradually to shut down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government lending programs. He says taxpayers should never again be left "holding the bag" for their costs. More fundamentally, he says most mortgage lending should come from private lenders. That's an old-school GOP position.

The president also wants the federal government to insure private loans and regulate home loans. These are classically Democratic positions.

Competing versions of reform legislation are before Congress. One would simply abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The other would do what the president wants to do — dismantle them and replace them with regulation that includes both carrots and sticks. ...

Reform should get government out of home loans, not retain it as the man behind the curtain. The feds should regulate, but not try to control outcomes. ...

President Obama is right to try to move lending back to a marketplace that has rules, but is essentially private.



The (Canton) Repository, Aug. 9

The message from Ohio voters to payday lenders in 2008 was loud and clear: No more charging sky-high interest rates. No more trapping desperate borrowers in what the Better Business Bureau calls "a revolving door of debt."

When the majority of voters in Stark and 86 other counties passed state Issue 5, payday lenders were limited to a maximum 28 percent interest rate, not the 300 percent to 400 percent that they had been getting away with.

This was not the end of the usury problem, however, and before long, everyone — lenders, state legislators, voters — knew it. Loopholes in other state laws would let payday lenders make an end run around Issue 5.

The Legislature should have seen passage of Issue 5 as a message from voters to close those loopholes. It never happened. Now, as The Columbus Dispatch reported this week, short-term payday loans again carry annualized interest rates topping 300 percent. Lenders have registered to operate under laws that weren't intended to cover them, such as the Mortgage Loan Act and Small Loan Act. ...

This is not at all what voters intended. Now that a newspaper has shone the spotlight on the problem, will the Legislature act? ...



Warren Tribune Chronicle, Aug. 11

A bill pending in the Ohio House could help save local governments large sums of money and help Ohio become business friendly in the data storage industry. In anticipation of the bill becoming law, local leaders should find a way to capitalize for the local economy and to reduce taxpayer costs to maintain local government.

HB 136 would use Ohio Third Frontier money to develop data centers connected along a statewide high-speed fiber optic Internet grid. These data centers could house massive amounts of information for governmental entities and private businesses.

By sharing in the cost, each user would spend substantially less than storing the data on their own. Using Third Frontier money and a provision in the bill that provides for an electricity discount would make the function even less expensive. ...

While more research may be in order, especially in determining whether this is a project that should be left to private enterprise, HB 136 is shaping up to be an important opportunity for Ohio and local leaders should be ready to jump aboard.