Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Toledo) Blade, Aug. 11
Just what Ohio needs: Statehouse politicians telling public schools what and how to teach.
Ohio is one of 45 states that adopted the national Common Core academic standards in 2010. Educators have worked hard and the state has spent a lot of money to put them into effect. The standards define the basic knowledge and skills in reading and math that American students are expected to master in every grade....
Such radical notions were too much for the state governments in Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, which voted this year to scrap Common Core. Now two Republican members of the Ohio House, reciting Tea Party talking points, are bringing the backlash here: They are sponsoring a bill that would replace the standards with — well, with nothing they can identify.
Leaders of the GOP-controlled House support this reckless stunt. They appear to be working with the sponsors to keep the repeal bill out of the House Education Committee, which is headed by a Common Core advocate (and a Republican)....
Some teachers' unions have expressed reservations about Common Core, but not because they oppose the standards themselves. Rather, they fear some states and school districts will use poor performance by students on tests designed to assess mastery of the standards as an excuse to penalize teachers.
The way to address such concerns is not to eliminate the rigorous standards, but rather to give school districts the needed time, support, and flexibility — and teachers the training — to make Common Core work.
Warren Tribune Chronicle, Aug. 11
A major malfunction on a ride at the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky will not be investigated by state inspectors.
That should prompt state legislators to amend the law on inspections of rides such as those at carnivals and amusement parks.
Two people were hurt when a cable on a Cedar Point ride snapped and struck them. One was treated for injuries at the scene. The other had to be taken to a hospital.
But because neither person was admitted to the hospital, the law does not require state inspectors to check the ride. Cedar Point is investigating, and the state Department of Agriculture will have to approve reopening of the ride, however.
One reason for investigating minor accidents is to ensure more serious ones do not occur.
Of course, state inspectors should not be called in whenever someone stubs his toe getting off a carnival ride. But surely some compromise, perhaps requiring inspections when people require treatment of injuries, can be agreed upon.
State legislators should consider such a change.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug. 9
The opaque, slime-green water found in Toledo last weekend should be a wake-up call to residents in Ohio and across the country about the need to protect our natural resources.
The poisonous algae blooms that made water undrinkable — even untouchable — for nearly half a million Americans weren't an act of God, or a one-time fluke. They've become common in lakes across Ohio and around the country due to fertilizer and sewage runoff. Algae blooms are less likely to occur in the Ohio River because the river water moves quickly, and Greater Cincinnati Water Works — which handles water treatment for communities from Warren County to Northern Kentucky — is capable of filtering the toxins that fouled Lake Erie water. But the Ohio River still experiences occasional algae blooms, and excess nutrients from the Ohio eventually make their way into the Gulf of Mexico, where they help cause "dead zones" that can't support aquatic life.
Failure to act to improve water quality threatens public health; the toxins in Lake Erie water have made Ohioans sick and killed pets in other incidents. But fixing this problem should also be an economic priority....
There are solutions to this problem that require international and federal actions, but there are plenty of others that require action closer to home, from the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, to the decisions homeowners and business owners make every day.
The (Newark) Advocate, Aug. 10
The death of an inmate in May — and the subsequent resignations of five corrections officers for doctoring logs at the Licking County Justice Center — illustrates the many challenges of running a jail.
Imagine for a moment that it was your job to ensure the safety of the community by keeping people who were arrested, are awaiting trial and are sentenced to jail behind bars, while also protecting criminals from themselves and preventing them from harming each other. Don't forget the myriad of addiction, mental health and other problems most inmates carry into the jail, especially during the current heroin and methamphetamine crises. For many, it's the worst time of their lives — a moment when their desperation is at an all-time high....
Following the May suicide and other unsuccessful attempts, the sheriff's management team discovered corrections officers were not making their required rounds every 30 minutes, including looking through windows to make sure inmates were safe. Five were accused of faking logs showing that checks were made; they were allowed to resign instead of being fired....
Sadly, this is not a new issue. The sheriff's office is facing a $10 million lawsuit in federal court, filed by the family of an inmate who committed suicide in 2011 by jumping over a jail railing. There's now a netting system in place to stop others.
Critics can suggest the sheriff has not done enough to deter suicides, but it's also true personal responsibility must be discussed. People don't land in jail without making a series of bad choices, usually involving alcohol and drugs to some degree. At some point, they have to take responsibility for living well and staying alive....
But given what's happened this year, we ask ... if more should be done. A third mental health worker? New supervision policies? Improved pay for guards?
Even one death is too many.