Thursday, August 9, 2018

Summer Caucus Notes - School Districts, Colleges & Universities

Call to Order/Welcome/Introductions – The School Districts and Colleges/Universities Caucus met on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. at the Penta Career Center Culinary Connections Restaurant, 9301 Buck Road in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Paul Knollman, dean of the business division at Monroe County Community College and facilitator of the School Districts and Colleges/Universities Caucus, called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone present. Introductions were made by everyone present.

Caucus members in attendance included:

  •  Sharon Belkofer – Board Member, Rossford Board of Education
  •  Dan Creps – Superintendent, Rossford Exempted Village Schools
  •  Ed Ewers – Assistant Superintendent, Penta Career Center
  • Jared Holt – Director, State Government Relations, The University of Toledo 
  •  Sue Houston – V.P. of Partnerships/Chief of Staff, The University of Toledo 
  • Cindy Hurst – Dir. of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Relations, Lourdes University 
  • Brad Johnson – Board Member, Ottawa Hills Board of Education
  • Scott Killy – Coordinator, Skilled Trades, Owens Community College
  • Barry Kinsey – Director of Workforce Development, Monroe County Community College
  • Paul Knollman – Dean, Business Division, Monroe County Community College
  • Ronald Matter – Superintendent, Penta Career Center
  •  Robert Midden – Associate Vice Provost, Bowling Green State University
  • Debbie Morris – Adult Education ABLE/GED Consortium Coordinator, Penta Career Center
  • Linda Stacy – Board President, The Maritime Academy of Toledo
  • Margaret Traband – Director of Strategic Initiatives, The University of Toledo
  • Bob Vasquez – Board President, Toledo Board of Education
Non-caucus members in attendance included:
  • Cecelia Adams – Council Member At-Large, City of Toledo
  •  Theresa Gavarone – State Representative, 3rd District, Ohio
  • Rhonda Sewell – Manager, External and Governmental Affairs, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
TMACOG support staff in attendance included:
·         Mary Pat McCarthy – Marketing/Public Information Manager
·         Austin Mack – Transportation Public Administration Specialist

Introduction of Discussion Topics – Caucus members discussed the following topics.
·         Free Higher Education; Positives and Negatives
o   Who pays for it? Makes more sense to focus on certain areas of need
o   Shortage in workforce for certain occupations, should government subsidize specific trades or occupations to fill the gap? If so, have it come with a commitment to that occupation to where if federal funding is used towards higher education or training they would have to stick with the occupation for a certain number of years or pay back the subsidy.
·         Discussion on K-12 Education
o   Are we doing enough to help kids prepare, be aware of, or be directed towards skilled trades career paths? Kids need to be educated at an early age that this is an option, spark an interest early rather than have industry sponsor or recruit for these trades later in the students post K-12 life.
o   Current federal programs that fund training later in a person’s life have issues attracting people that may not qualify (i.e. convicted felons).
o   K-12 public school districts are mandated by state requirements and testing to teach certain curriculum, which in turn limits their ability to introduce specific curriculum geared towards the vocational skills or something outside the box of core subjects. Public schools need to have more say in what they teach without fear of falling short of state testing metrics, therefore possibly losing resources.
o   The pendulum swings between vocational skills and the core curriculum. How do we figure out where we are and how to fund it?
o   The group supports apprenticeship programs where a student can earn college credit at the same time
o   Most expensive college degrees are the ones that are not completed, i.e. students who change their major or choose to abandon college all together. Kids need more preparation knowing their personal strengths and interests before they start on the path to college. More guidance and counseling on the part of the schools, more education of parents on different in demand career paths for their children.

·         High Demand Low Supply Occupations
o   You have to teach parents what these positions and trades really are like in today’s workforce. Who educates the parents, who takes the lead? Industry, schools or both? Need to work together to overcome this hurdle.
o   Four-year degrees are still in high demand. How do universities partner with industry to steer their students as well?
o   Millennials shifting interest to computers and tech, jobs that revolve around computers. Getting to kids earlier K-12 more involved in trades working with their hands.
o   Some educators have had experience with students with 4-year degrees coming back and saying I hate my career and they want to work with their hands and not be behind a desk.
o   High school counselors, do they push students towards college? Would it be advantageous to get them as much information on local job needs as they do on college options?
o   State of Ohio doing career programs to inform students about. Need to get together more often with education stakeholders to find out information.
o   How do we support entrepreneurship and business?
o   The library system could be a good resource in helping fill some of these gaps in educating children and parents on in demand career paths.
·         Federal vs. State vs. Local Control of Education
o   K-12 education is all about test test test… Over regulation on the part of the State, teachers having to teach to the test is a common issue and theme. K-12 public education is focused on getting kids to graduate.
o   Importance of industry being more involved in education reforms, having them help lobby legislators would be more effective politically.
o   People in Columbus are disconnected from what the real education issues schools face. Ohio Department of Education is ineffective, can’t sit around and wait for Columbus to fix our issues, need to collaborate.
o   Not dealing with the source of our public education problem, local educators are just tasked with treating the symptoms. People in control of the money are the problem. Poor schools, rich school districts all tested the same way. Reduced funding. Federal funding is a mess. Someone needs to apply pressure.  How do we influence policy? Who can lobby? Can industry partner with education get state and federal legislators to listen? We lobby in silos, not together. Need to engage both political parties to move the needle.
o   How do we work together on issues when we protect our own turf? Form an official collaborative
o   Growth in online education, while universities have huge infrastructure that is being used less and less
o   Fulfilling life for a kid is being productive is something you want to do. Loving what you do and it starts in K-12. What does that student want to do what are they meant for. Valuing all work equally. Comes back to messaging from adults, stigmas. Work is not a dirty word.
o   Young people need to find their Plan A path at an earlier age.
o   Can we form an official collaborative or consortium in order to collaborate and lobby? What would the focus of this collaborative be? It is important to choose a specific goal or mission for such a group? A common thing to fight for with as many partners as possible.
o   What kind of collaboratives already exist, KAPE, SEMCOG future skills task force.
o   How do we connect what we are teaching in K-16, what we are testing them for, and how does that apply to the real world of industry? How do we get the Ohio Department of Education to hear the real issues and apply funding?
o   House Bill 512 is an attempt to do this.

Generate Questions for Forum with State Lawmakers – The caucus generated the following questions.
1.      We’d like to thank the legislature for their commitment to education and their support for schools. With regard to assessment and accreditation, as educators we’re focused on trying to meet the needs of students, supporting regional economic development, and providing a high-quality work force. What is the correlation between state testing and other data collection and evaluation, and moving the needle on these desired outcomes? How can testing support our goals?
Next Steps – There were no requested actions from the caucus.

Adjourn – The facilitator adjourned the meeting.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

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