Grove City Record

SW may join Central Ohio Compact

By

The South-Western City School District board will be considering whether the district should join the Central Ohio Compact.

The Central Ohio Compact is a partnership of school districts, adult career-technical centers, colleges and universities and business and civic leaders in Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Madison and Union counties, said Erik Shuey, SW's executive director of secondary learning and athletics.

Shuey presented an overview of the compact and its goals at Monday's school board meeting.

Ohio has gone through an unprecedented transformation from its residents being able to be sustained by labor intensive industries to their being more dependent on knowledge and service-based enterprises, he said.

Succeeding economically now requires succeeding educationally, Shuey said.

A look at statistics both personal and economic "raises eyebrows and causes concern," he said.

One of every four Ohio students drop out of high school, Shuey said, and Ohio's college-going rate is slightly below the national rate. Currently, 41 percent of Ohio's first semester freshmen need remedial coursework.

By 2020, two-thirds of the jobs nationwide and just under 60 percent in Ohio will require a post-secondary education, he said. In 2010, only 38 percent of Ohio's working population had attained at least a two-year degree.

Between 2008 and 2018, Ohio will create 1.7 million job vacancies from new jobs and retirements, Shuey said. About 967,000 of those vacancies will be for those with post-secondary credentials.

The basic goal of the Central Ohio Compact is that by 2025, 60 percent of adults in the region will have earned a post-secondary certificate or degree, he said.

"It's a formidable goal, but attainable," Shuey said.

In Ohio's current rate of degree production, only about 44 percent of Ohio's adult population will have a post-secondary degree by 2025, he said. Another 919,000 degrees will have to be added to reach the compact's 60 percent goal.

The compact's guiding principles include making learning opportunities more accessible, especially to low income, minority and first-generation students, Shuey said.

There is also a desire to achieve greater curricular alignment between secondary schools and post-secondary institutions, he said.

"I'm proud to say that South-Western is already part of some of that work," Shuey said.

Another important issue is making higher education more affordable and creating programs to allow students to begin earning college credits while in high school, he said.

Shuey said the board will be presented with a resolution at a future meeting to certify the district's commitment to the Central Ohio Compact.

Comments