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Mike DeWine's scholarship proposal vital to keeping 'best and brightest' in Ohio | Opinion

Mike DeWine's scholarship proposal vital to keeping 'best and brightest' in Ohio | Opinion

As Ohioans celebrate the graduation of thousands of students from our high schools, colleges, and universities, and as the General Assembly deliberates the details of our next biennial budget, we must recognize the importance of the state's education system as a driver in Ohio's workforce development.

Our education system, from our pre-schools and public school districts to our community colleges and four-year institutions, is preparing a future-ready, next-generation workforce to meet the needs of our growing and diversifying economy. 

As a member of Gov. Mike DeWine's Executive Workforce Board, I have the privilege of working with state leaders to expand and improve our workforce pipeline.

As a school superintendent, I am honored to lead talented, dedicated educators who prepare students for success.

As a member of the board of directors at my alma mater, Wittenberg University, I see the intentional program changes taking place to prepare graduates for our new economic reality.

As superintendent-in-residence and now as the Fawcett Education Leadership Fellow at the Ohio State University, I see how the university embraces the challenges of preparing our next generation of educators.   

At every level of education, the vision must be aligned in all parts of this great state. We prepare students for success with the required skills to be valued and contributing members of our communities. It is vital to our future success that we train and keep our best and brightest in Ohio. Today's economic growth will require tomorrow's workers to be ready for skilled jobs.   

Gov. DeWine's merit scholarship, an initiative to keep the top 5% of each high school graduating class in Ohio, is a crucial investment in our future. While each school district determines the top 5% at the local level, the result is the same. A four-year, renewable scholarship for the top high school students across the state makes college attainable for some students and incentivizes staying in Ohio for all.

The merit scholarships, as proposed by the governor, are fair for all Ohio graduates. Regardless of district size or economic status, rural, suburban, and urban students all have the same opportunity to earn this scholarship.

With the rising cost of higher education and the rapidly increasing need for a skilled workforce, keeping young professionals in Ohio is a good policy. I’m hopeful that the General Assembly will include this important line item in the next budget. Today's students are Ohio's future leaders.  

Our education system, at every level, is a work in progress. We strive to adapt and adjust to shifting conditions; we partner with business and industry leaders to prepare students for the future. As a state, we strive for vision alignment and outcomes clarity. Aligning our priorities and investing in keeping our top high school graduates in Ohio sends a clear message — that our state is willing to do what’s needed to meet our current and future workforce demands. 

This article was featured in The Columbus Dispatch on 6/5/2023. Written by Superintendent, Dr. John Marschhausen.