- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

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

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, July 18

Ohio officials are responding to the need for shorter tests on the Common Core math and English standards. That’s good. The Ohio legislature even dropped the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career tests in June when the partnership couldn’t deliver on shorter tests or resolve its technical problems.

However, the new target of a three-hour maximum test for math and English - or six hours overall for both subjects - is still not short enough, especially for younger students. The Ohio Department of Education should examine alternative testing plans with the state’s new testing vendor, American Institutes of Research …

A three-hour math test may seem roughly equivalent to the three hour, 45-minute SAT, a college admissions test. Yet the SAT test time includes all sections with breaks in between. If students take both math and English Common Core tests at the same time, they’ll be facing six hours of test-taking. That’s just too much.

Common Core tests are not a high-stakes college entrance exam. They will be used to measure students’ progress, grade school districts and, in some cases, to evaluate teachers. There’s no need to make students suffer.




The Columbus Dispatch, July 18

The allegation against Planned Parenthood - that affiliates are profiting from the sale of human tissue from aborted fetuses - is disturbing. The controversy surrounding the accusation, which stems from an anti-abortion group’s sting video, demands a dispassionate investigation.

That will be a challenge, for the same reason a civil debate about abortion is rare: feelings on the issue are intense, and the two sides proceed from diametrically opposed beliefs.

Those who oppose abortion believe Planned Parenthood should be stripped of any government funding, despite the valuable work it does preventing abortion by providing contraception and other health-care services to poor women.

Even many of those who support the right to an abortion are disturbed by it, and much more so by the video’s casual discussion of taking tissue from aborted fetuses for use in medical research.

Planned Parenthood says it has broken no laws, and that any money involved in the donation of human tissue has been reimbursement of costs, such as shipping, not a source of profit. The public deserves to know the truth of the matter.

If an affiliate clinic allows women to donate fetal tissue for medical research, it should say so and explain why and how it works - before the next sting video.




The (Findlay) Courier, July 18

Last month the Legislature approved a bill extending the statute of limitations in rape cases from 20 to 25 years. That means police and prosecutors have a bigger window in which to solve old sex crimes.

The much-needed update comes at a time when Ohio is solving more rapes and other sex offenses through DNA analysis.

Attorney General Mike DeWine launched an initiative in 2011 after learning that many law enforcement agencies across the state were in possession of thousands of untested rape kits.

So far, 186 law enforcement agencies have submitted 10,134 kits to be tested and forensic scientists have completed testing on 7,814 of those kits, resulting in 2,887 “hits” in a database which catalogs and stores DNA evidence.

Many of the matches have led to charges and convictions …

DeWine should continue to press police departments to submit rape kits for testing as soon as possible, and eliminate the backlog as soon as possible.

And even though the ink on the new law is barely dry, Gov. John Kasich just signed it this week, lawmakers should explore what some states have already done: eliminate the statute of limitations for rape altogether.

Violent sex crimes should be treated on the same level as murder, the only crime in Ohio with no time limit for prosecution …




The Akron Beacon Journal, July 19

… Medicare, the federal health program that covers 55 million older and disabled Americans, recently announced that it plans to reimburse providers for having such talks with patients. In that way, patients are in position to give clear guidance about whether, say, they want more aggressive treatment or something along the lines of home care and pain management.

The Medicare decision reflects a strong consensus. The American Medical Association and other major medical organizations support the change. Perhaps most decisive is the recommendation almost a year ago of a 21-member committee put together by the Institute of Medicine …

The committee proposed that insurers reimburse providers for conversations with patients on end-of-life care. It emphasized that medical schools begin to increase training in palliative care, doctors, thus, in better position to know how to treat patients more compassionately and effectively. In this instance, reimbursement isn’t enough. Providers must be trained to perform well. Otherwise, the risk is, the conversation becomes a mere box to check.

All of this is designed to generate savings, end-of-life care frequently the most expensive. Yet, most important, according to the committee, are the improvements in quality of life …

Too often, patients, families and friends feel helpless when all they seek is a measure of dignity as death approaches. Now Medicare wants to ensure a pathway to providing just that.




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