Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 16
Now is when the rubber meets the road in Ohio's third-grade reading guarantee. Teachers and principals, especially in big-city and poor rural school districts, have about six months to bring the reading skills of thousands of struggling third-graders up to grade level or else those children will have to repeat the grade....
Bringing them all up to speed is a monumental challenge and daunting task, but it could be the start of an overdue era of progress where stagnation long has reigned.
A law passed last summer holds that any child who is found to be behind in reading at the beginning of third grade and still hasn't caught up by the end of the year must be held back — a "guarantee" that, from next school year on, any child in the fourth grade will be reading at grade level.
Although the Ohio law and versions in other states have been controversial, it never has been meant as a punishment for poor readers. It is a mandatory time-out, a drastic step taken to get kids on track before the chance at a good education passes them by....
But now it's official: Results of October's statewide reading tests, released last week, show that more than a third of third-graders failed....
If Ohio parents, teachers and bureaucrats had addressed the problem with the current level of urgency long ago, it never would have grown so large.
The (Findlay) Courier, Dec. 13
Now that Eric Kearney has stepped aside, the best thing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald can do is lick his wounds and move on, and quickly.
Kearney, a state senator from Cincinnati, had appeared to be an excellent choice as FitzGerald's candidate for lieutenant governor until it was discovered he has federal and state tax debt of more than $700,000....
Republicans, of course, reveled in the Democrats' misery, especially since Democrats repeatedly raised concerns about the tax debts of Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges.
But Kearney's situation is different in that he was seeking election, not appointment, to a statewide office.
With Kearney off the ticket, FitzGerald has major damage control to do. Some are already questioning if FitzGerald can handle the complexities of running the state if he can't fully vet his right-hand man....
Fitzgerald must distance himself from Kearney and move on, with the knowledge that his next pick will likely receive even more scrutiny than the first. He's said he won't announce a new running mate until after the new year.
That should give FitzGerald and his handlers adequate time to ask potential running mates questions not only about finances, but about past statements they've made, friendships, and medical history.
Those are things that either weren't asked of Kearney, or not asked until it was too late.
The (Toledo) Blade, Dec. 16
The United States' decision to cut off nonlethal aid to opposition forces in Syria because the rebels are fighting among themselves probably ends the Obama Administration's current Syria policy, although not the country's civil war.
When the conflict began three years ago, President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared loudly that Syrian president Bashar Assad had to go and that he no longer had the support of his people. He probably didn't; Assad has badly abused his constituents. But his troops have been able to hold off a divided opposition....
A conference between the Assad government and its opposition, with international participation, is scheduled for next month. With rebel groups shooting at each other and some U.S. military aid cut off, reducing if not removing American leverage, prospects for the conference occurring, much less succeeding, have shrunk drastically.
Apart from the embarrassment to the Obama Administration, which should have realized much earlier that the Syrian opposition was an unlikely horse to back, the world is still left with an ugly war that has produced millions of refugees in an explosive part of the world.
At the least, the United States must work to put as many players as possible at the table in January to try to scale down, if not end, the war in Syria.
The (Canton) Repository, Dec. 14
This winter's sudden impinging on fall can drive you crazy, or crazy your drive. Amid the ice and snow, we're seeing potholes, chuckholes, wheelbenders or whatever you call them popping up like so many moon craters.
No, it's not an asteroid attack. It's simple pavement physics: Vehicles create stress fractures, called alligator tracks, in road surfaces. Water enters the cracks. Severe cold freezes the water, expanding it. The crack generates potholes. Every time vehicles hit them, the cavities get larger.
Normally, our pothole season begins in late February. Not so this winter. Our favorite auto mechanic tells us he's seeing dozens of drivers with wheel damage. Average repair job: In the hundreds if you need a new tire and wheel, much more if the suspension is skewered....
We don't expect to navigate potholes in December and are caught by surprise. And these holes can be monsters. That pothole in the North Canton Post Office lot seemed to eat wheels. Be especially watchful on side streets. Our freeways, recently repaved, are holding up, but keep an eye out, anyway....
Cash-strapped cities use a cheap technique to deal with potholes: They barricade the hole and wait until spring. Would it be that simple.
This being an editorial, we must conclude with our opinion: Potholes suck. Period.