- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

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

The (Canton) Repository, Jan. 8

State should re-evaluate its investment in early childhood programs

A national assessment on education delivered troubling news for Ohio this week. Not only has the state slipped from 18th last year to 23rd today (after ranking fifth only six years ago), but Education Week’s Quality Counts rankings also exposed an alarming flaw in the state’s education system: Ohio has one of the widest gaps on national test scores between students of poverty and those of higher incomes, The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday.

In that category, Ohio ranked 43rd in the nation.



We’ve seen these results bear out on a local level. Each year, Ohio Graduation Test scores show wealthier districts in Stark County, like Jackson Local and North Canton, outpacing city school districts where the county’s poverty rates are at their highest (Canton City, Massillon and Alliance). This, of course, is no phenomena.

Most studies prove that students from poor homes aren’t as likely to have as many books in the home or be read to by their parents. Children ages 6 and 7 also aren’t as likely to participate in special lessons or extra-curricular activities, The Washington Post reported last year. This income-based achievement gap can stick with a young student into adulthood, putting them at a disadvantage when they join the workforce…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1ndh8lU

___

The (Toledo) Blade, Jan. 6

History will not look kindly on the failure of Congress, or even President Obama, to enact reasonable gun control measures, despite unprecedented massacres that have horrified the nation.

Last month, the U.S. Senate took Congress’ impotence and cowardice to a new level. It voted down a national-security measure that would have banned gun sales to people whose names appear on federal terrorism watch lists.

The President, though generally well-intentioned, must share in the blame. His inability to control and corral a recalcitrant Congress, with either a handshake or a hammer, has plagued his administration throughout his two terms.

Meantime, state lawmakers- including those in Ohio -continue to push, often successfully, for even more lax gun laws. In Ohio, these efforts include a reckless plan that would allow virtually anyone to carry a gun, without a permit or training. Such folly will almost certainly worsen during an election year…

Online:

https://bit.ly/22Vpgrv

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The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Jan. 11

Unfair trade, low oil PRICES and anemic global demand ganged up on the U.S. steel industry in 2015 to deliver a mean and powerful blow.

With recent news of yet another shutdown of steelmaking operations in the Mahoning Valley, that harsh beating looks unlikely to stop anytime soon.

As a Page 1 story in Saturday’s Vindicator reported, Warren Steel Holdings, a successor of the once mammoth Copperweld Steel Co., has temporarily shut down operations with hopes of reopening later in the first quarter of this year.

WSH thus becomes the latest casualty of adverse market conditions that have robbed the Valley economy of hundreds and hundreds of good-paying jobs over the past year in steel and related industries. The toll includes significant layoffs or closings at such enterprises as Vallourec Star, TMK-IPSCO, Wheatland Tube, Parker Hannifin and Exterran Inc.

That domino effect reminds us of the same chilling effect three decades ago when the Valley’s network of steelmaking giants fell into oblivion one dynamite blast at a time.

Now, as then, the inability to compete invited demise. Today, most industry and union leaders agree that current competitive struggles result largely from unfair trade practices, particularly by China and other Asian nations…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1ZgaOpx

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The Marietta Times, Jan. 6

Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice might be alive today if Cleveland police officers had been told they might be about to confront a kid with a pellet gun. But the dispatcher who sent them did not think to pass along that information from the caller who notified police about Rice.

Just two seconds after a police cruiser pulled up in front of Rice at a Cleveland park in last 2014, the child was dead. An officer shot him, apparently because he felt threatened by the realistic-looking gun Rice was holding. It turned out to be a pellet pistol.

Members of a state panel formed to suggest ways of avoiding unnecessary shootings by law enforcement officers will be discussing that during the next few weeks. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has requested they look into what can be done to avoid similar failures to communicate in the future.

No doubt most of us would like to think that if a police dispatcher is told a call may involve a juvenile with a toy or pellet gun- not an adult with a real firearm -that information would be passed on to responding officers. But that did not happen in Cleveland.

Members of the state Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board should inquire first into why that did not happen. That has to be a first step in complying with Kasich’s request, that statewide standards be developed for how communications between dispatchers and officers are handled…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1VZzyCt

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