Editorial roundup


The Columbus Dispatch, July 10

Last week’s national unemployment figures showed another dip in the unemployment rate, to 5.3 percent, and the longest stretch of job growth (57 consecutive months) since World War II.

But just below these topline numbers lie a very worrisome trend: The percentage of working-age Americans who actually hold a job has declined markedly, with the workforce-participation rate now at its lowest level since the late 1970s, at 62.6 percent. The number of jobs being created in this deceptive “recovery” aren’t even enough to keep pace with population growth …

There also is a risk of further-reaching damage: The longer a person is without a job, the harder it is to get one, so being unemployed for an extended period in this economy may well depress a person’s prospects for the rest of his life …

Observers attribute the shrinking workforce to a number of factors. Regulations, tax policy and higher health-insurance costs can keep businesses from hiring. The generous unemployment benefits extended during the recession might have encouraged some to continue collecting this money …

One thing’s for certain: This is not what a real recovery looks like. And the longer this trend continues, the dimmer the future will look.

Online: http://bit.ly/1dWOjVr

The Akron Beacon Journal, July 12

Reaction in Ohio to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage here and in other states that also had enacted bans ranged from unproductive pushback to welcome calls for further embracing diversity. As the implications of the landmark ruling sink in, it is important that Ohioans work to repair the damage caused by a harshly worded constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage approved by voters in 2004.

During a recent Ohio State Bar Association webinar, Jennifer Branch, the Cincinnati attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the two Ohio cases that helped lead to the high court’s ruling last month, noted the most pressing issue, enacting legislation that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Branch explained that under current Ohio law, her clients could get married, show up for work on Monday morning with pictures of their ceremony and find themselves fired on the spot. Fortunately, state Sen. Frank LaRose, a Copley Township Republican, and others have been working to build a bipartisan effort to pass a bill that would ban discrimination …

The best way for Ohio officials to move ahead in the wake of the high court ruling is to build consensus around an anti-discrimination measure that would provide much-needed protections for individuals and serve to enhance the image of the state and its quality of life.

Online: http://bit.ly/1K4rT08

The (Toledo) Blade, July 11

Among the many pernicious measures Gov. John Kasich signed into law with the new state budget was a provision that will ban the use of Common Core proficiency tests – called Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) – in Ohio schools.

The law takes another step toward dismantling Ohio’s use of the national Common Core education standards. State officials – especially Governor Kasich, who supports Common Core – shouldn’t let that happen …

Common Core has replaced less rigorous, outdated standards in many states. It has earned the support of teachers, school administrators, and education reform advocates across the political spectrum …

Still, opponents of Common Core have found favor among extremist Ohio lawmakers …

The measure approved by Governor Kasich will end, after just one year, the use of PARCC tests, which are used by 11 other states to measure students’ academic proficiency …

Testing shouldn’t be a blunt instrument to deprive schools of funds. Tests are critical – not optional – tools for comparing students’ performance across states and globally, and ensuring they’re prepared for modern jobs and higher education.

Ohio lawmakers’ continued efforts to chip away at Common Core only undermine these goals.

Online: http://bit.ly/1DcMCtI

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