Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut believes Ohio's teacher training system is not providing enough qualified teachers for Ohio's K-12 schools. Fingerhut shared his comments last week in a wide-ranging discussion with members of the Ohio Grantmakers Forum (see here).
Fingerhut said creating a talent pipeline is a priority. Even though there are 50 schools of education in the state, schools are having a hard time finding qualified teachers. He noted that the Board of Regents will have a greater role in teacher preparation and quality issues under the governor's budget proposal, and he said that he is having frank discussions with education school deans and public university presidents about the need for dramatic reform. This is one area in which federal economic stimulus dollars could be useful.
Fingerhut believes higher education is affordable and will become even more so in the future. For example, under current state restructuring of financial aid, most low-income students (around 20 percent of all of Ohio's college students), if they attend a community college in Ohio, can have their higher-education tuition costs covered through the federal Pell grant program.
Turning to the state budget, Fingerhut noted that the governor has ordered the Regents to stop payments to vendors for the last two months of this fiscal year, to renegotiate contracts down 15 percent next year, and to reduce administrative expenses by 30 percent. Paradoxically, under the revamped House budget plan, state spending on education in the next biennium is set to increase.