Editorials from around Ohio

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

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Feb. 2

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's long-awaited school funding formula appears overall to be a promising fix for a long-broken funding system that the Ohio Supreme Court first ruled unconstitutional in 1997.

It's also a welcome change from the cutbacks that have dogged public schools in the last two years as the state shaved school funding to balance its budget, forcing recession-weary voters to make up the difference — if they could.

Public schools need to do far more to change how they operate — and Kasich offers modest incentives for them to do so with a $300 million innovation fund. This page long has advocated rewarding risk-taking districts such as Cleveland's with added state money.

But Kasich's ambitious $15.1 billion proposal, aimed at shoring up spending on poorer students while not taking money away from wealthier districts, could use some editing.

In particular, the plan's generous provisions to improve funding for charter schools and offer more tuition vouchers for private schools could hollow out urban public education in Ohio — while failing to address Ohio's dismal oversight of charter schools....

The rest of us should kick the tires as well. Ohio's future is bound to its educational system, so that system has to be as strong as possible....

Kasich should make sure that his fervent support for charter schools and tuition vouchers doesn't get in the way of making Ohio's public schools as strong as they can be.

Online: http://bit.ly/11uSAHB

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The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Jan. 31

The only person to win the Tour de France seven times in a row admits to taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Baseball Hall of Fame voters — facing a ballot including one player who has admitted taking steroids plus three others whose qualifications are clouded by allegations of using banned substances — opt not to have a Class of 2013.

Four athletes performing at the Winter X Games ... were hospitalized following mishaps during competition or practice. At least two remain in the hospital, one in critical condition.

There is a distinction between athletes who violate rules against use of banned substance and those who flirt with breaking the law of gravity. Yet all have one thing in common — they risk their health in order to compete.

But that distinction is important. Competitors in many sports face the possibility of injury. From motorsports to mountaineering, those risks are accepted by participants and minimized as much as possible.

Those who violate rules against performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping not only cheat their fellow competitors, they cheat their spectators, also.

Online: http://bit.ly/WTaCj4

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The Athens Messenger, Feb. 3

On Wednesday, a report of an armed robbery in a parking lot off campus created chaos. Not because of the event itself but because of the way everyone reacted to it.

We're now officially a society on edge. People who are going to jump at the sound of any pop and assume its gunfire.

How else can you explain why Ohio University President Roderick McDavis closed the university after the incident? There was no evidence the suspect had any intentions of doing anything other than what he had already allegedly done — holding up a student in an off-campus parking lot for the $5 she had on her at the time. The description of the suspect and his weapon hardly matched the profile of someone who had intentions of pulling off a mass shooting or creating a catastrophic event.

Clearly this decision was based more on emotion than logic.

Why?

The fact the university decided to close campus and send Eastern Michigan's basketball team packing but yet failed to notify Athens County Emergency Management, 911, the State Highway Patrol (which has jurisdiction over crimes that happen on state property) and the Athens County Sheriff's Office are two scenarios that are totally inconsistent with one another....

If nothing else, at least Wednesday's incident highlighted the need for better communication between the county's first responders....

What we're left wondering is what happens the next time there is a report of an armed robber near campus? A bank robbery uptown? A shooting in a residential neighborhood? Crimes have occurred near campus for more than 200 years. What happens now?

Online: http://bit.ly/URHhoI

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Akron Beacon Journal, Feb. 2

In July, the Boys Scouts of America appeared adamant. The organization would stick with its policies excluding gay scouts and scout leaders. On (Jan. 28), much of that changed with an announcement removing any national policy, allowing local troops and councils to devise their own approaches to the participation of gays.

Ideally, the Boy Scouts would have acted more decisively, issuing a national standard, avoiding the possibility of local operations engaging in such discrimination. Perhaps that will come later. For now, the change deserves applause. It brings the organization closer to what the Girl Scouts long have understood, prohibiting discrimination, seeing sexual orientation as a private matter.

What spurred the sudden change? Key national board members pressed for reconsideration. National sponsors, such as Merck and UPS, broke financial ties. The Boy Scouts suffered no small embarrassment with revelations about sexual abuse by scout leaders, hardly bolstering the claim about needing to protect youth.

So much of Scouting wins admiration, the oath and law, the values of honor and character, of achievement and community. All of that has suffered as the organization has resisted change in the country as a whole, our deepening diversity. Now the Boy Scouts have begun to embrace what makes the country stronger, and promises the same for its troops and councils.

Online: http://bit.ly/YOvMSw

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