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Op-Ed: Voting YES on Columbus City School Levy Issues 50 & 51

 Cleve Ricksecker Op-Ed: Voting YES on Columbus City School Levy Issues 50 & 51
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One of the most optimistic things about Columbus is the way our local leaders aren’t afraid to tackle a big problem.

That’s why I support Issues 50 and 51, the Columbus Education Plan to improve our city’s K-12 schools and give each child the opportunity to receive a quality education.

Issues 50 and 51 tackle the problems of urban education head on, based on nearly a year’s deliberations by our city’s best education, government, business, labor, faith and community leaders.

Issues 50 and 51 expand pre-kindergarten opportunities so that all children can come to school prepared to learn. Right now, more often than not, that’s not the case.

It increases the number of high-performing schools across the district, so that all children, no matter which neighborhood they live in, have the opportunity to receive the quality education needed for success in today’s economy and society. As a community, we cannot tolerate half of our city’s children attending low performing schools. The Columbus Education Plan, Issues 50 and 51, addresses this issue and more.

Issues 50 and 51 enable our Schools to hire, retain and empower our best teachers and principals, instead of losing them to other school districts.

The Education Plan will install WiFi technology in every school and put more computers in every classroom. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use a computer or a smart phone in their work or personal life. So I can’t imagine any child getting a high quality education without access to and familiarity with computers and computer technology.

Plus, Ohio’s K-12 academic testing will soon be administered through computers (not paper and pencil). Columbus students must be totally comfortable with computers if they are to have any chance of achieving high performance in school and upon graduation.

I am impressed by the real changes being made by interim Superintendent Dan Good that, quite frankly, are getting our schools back on the right track. Superintendent Good moved swiftly to clean house downtown and give decision-making authority back to principals and teachers in each school building. He has implemented new policies that hold everyone accountable and that Ohio Auditor Dave Yost described as “model policies for other districts.”

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Accountability continues under Issues 50 and 51 including the creation of an Independent Auditor over school records and finances, so our schools will be more accountable with the public funds entrusted to them.

Most important, business and community leaders, led by Mayor Coleman and Council President Ginther, are committed for the long haul to implement these changes effectively and a carry out a true top-to-bottom reform in Columbus City Schools.

I believe whether we have children in the Columbus Schools or not, we should still think about K-12 education issues. The prosperity and happiness of each one of us is tied to our local economy and community. If Columbus schools are not preparing their 60,000 students for the marketplace, our entire community will suffer as major employers move elsewhere to find quality employees. From a perfectly selfish point of view, Issues 50 and 51 will help improve all of our economic opportunities.

Columbus is such a great city. We need great schools to keep it that way.

Join me in making Columbus’ schools – and our entire community – stronger by supporting the Columbus Education Plan Issues 50 and 51 on the November 5 ballot.

More information can be found online at www.NewColumbusSchools.com.

Cleve Ricksecker is a parent volunteer with NewColumbusSchools.com.

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