Reform Urged by Ohio’s Superintendent Stan Heffner

At a meeting with local administrators this week, Ohio Department of Education Superintendent Stan Heffner wants more districts to think outside the box in the ways it approaches children and how we pay for it, writes WYTV.com.

Heffner spoke at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center in Canfield, explaining his ideas for education reform in Ohio, telling the audience that districts need to be thinking beyond simply economic issues.

“Certainly the business end of schools is gonna require resources, but not everything requires money. It’s a question about how we do business, how we let go of the old practices that don’t work so that we embrace the new ones that our kids are gonna need,” Heffner said.

Heffner wants a shift in focus in the state. Instead of simply passing proficiency and graduation tests, he wants to see students actually leave school ready to attend college and begin their careers.

“Moving toward a system that prepares all kids to be ready for college or careers, whatever their choice, so that when they get their diploma they can achieve their dreams and take their rightful place as the next generation of Ohioans,” Heffner said.

Heffner wants to take students out of traditional classroom settings and allow them to interact more with businesses – putting their academic skills to practical use, as well as showing them how the classes they’re taking will actually help them later in life.

But how much will it cost? Heffner claims raising the level of expectations for schools isn’t expensive. Rather, it would mean rearranging the ways that money is currently spent, and he didn’t rule out loosening some existing regulations either.

Craig Olson, of the Canfield Board of Education, said he would favor a system that would be more flexible with how districts would want to use state funding. While Ron Iarussi, superintendent of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center, affirms that superintendents in the Valley have already begun discussions on how they can share services and different ways of doing things.

Heffner wants to see administrators, teachers and local community leaders thinking more outside the box and even outside the traditional classroom. High school internships, for example, would allow students to gain first-hand knowledge of the skills they’ll need in the future.