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October 28, 2002
Section: Editorials

Look to schools for leadership

Sometimes the communities of Stark County seem hopelessly obsessed with the differences that can divide them rather than the similarities that can unify them.
As a result, we are a county with too many police departments, too many chambers of commerce and too many school districts. It is an inefficient way to produce public service and economic growth.

Where in Stark County are similarities more important than differences? Perhaps in the public schools. Though there are 17 separate school districts of Stark County, schools may be our county’s leaders in cooperating to solve problems. The

P-16 Compact is an example of that leadership.

The P-16 Compact is a promise among educators and the business community to plan children’s education from preschool through four years of college. It is a promise to make all the pieces of education work in harmony, so that the result is the education of young adults who emerge ready for the challenges of an ever-changing workplace.

What causes this kind of cooperation? State-imposed testing and other performance standards give no school district a place to hide. Each knows whether it is graduating young people capable of holding down the best jobs the community has to offer. All districts suffer in common under these standards. But beyond that, the county’s school districts have learned to talk and listen to the business community, and the business community has learned to talk and listen to the educators. It has taken time, but it has happened.

We applaud these efforts, and wish them continued success. Education reform is making Stark County stronger and is setting an example for the county’s other institutions.


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