Education

BGSU & OSU heads: Higher education a wise investment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Several decades ago, college was affordable for a few, and a dream for all the others. A few decades later, college was the place kids were expected to go to start their futures. Now, the pendulum has swung back again, with college costs and job prospects leading to a push in the trades. But BGSU President Rodney Rogers and OSU President Michael Drake held a public conversation Wednesday evening about the lasting value of higher education. “Higher education is a value to young people, a value to our communities, a value to our state,” said State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, who moderated the conversation. A college degree makes a person more employable, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for someone with a master’s degree is 2.2 percent; a bachelor’s degree is 2.5 percent; an associate’s degree is 3.4 percent; and a high school education, 6.8 percent. And more than 80 percent of the country’s top 100 jobs require a bachelor’s degree. “There’s real value there,” said Gardner, who both Rogers and Drake called a strong advocate for higher education. A college degree also results in bigger paychecks. It offers a better annual return for investment (average 13.7 percent) than the stock market (average 10 percent), Drake said. “It’s really about the best investment a person can make in their future,” the OSU president said. Over a lifetime, that investment averages more than $1 million more in earnings, he added. The perks go beyond the paychecks, Drake said. People with college educations are more likely to rank themselves as happy, are healthier, live longer, and are more engaged in their communities, Drake said. Drake asked those in the audience to envision a map of the U.S. – then put their fingers on a couple areas of great innovation, like Silicon Valley, Boston, or the Research Triangle. “Under your fingers are great universities,” he said. Rogers noted the BGSU alumni who are doing great things in their communities. “That is a part of what drives our state, our region and our communities,” he said. Ohio’s 14 public universities are places where ideas are discussed – places that help inform the public debate. “That is the power of universities,” Rogers said. “We are making Ohio a better place. We need to embrace it. We create public good.” But state budgeting is an issue. In the 1980s, state funding made up 60 percent of university budgets. That number is now closer to 23 percent. “We seem to almost write budgets by anecdotes,” Gardner said. Legislators hear of someone’s child earning a four-year diploma then having to take a job as a janitor. They hear stories of too many people going into higher education, and degrees being worthless. “People say that,…

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BGSU closes the book on reading center, for now

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Martha Gesling Weber Reading Center has packed up and is ready to move. The center closed after 72 years at the end of this semester. A shifting mission and budget deficit is forcing the College of Education and Human Development to reconsider the center’s role. For now the materials will go to the Curriculum Resource Center on the second floor of Jerome Library while its future is pondered. The center has been offering one-on-one reading tutoring for a modest fee for school children. Now it will be up to parents, with some guidance for university personnel, to arrange tutoring with students. Dean Dawn Shinew, of the College of Education, said that modest fee, attractive to parents, was a large part of the problem. This year the center served about 30 children, she said. Previously it served as many as 60 children. It typically brings in $25,000 in fees. That falls short of the $200,000 it costs to operate the center. “That’s not a sustainable model,” Shinew said. One parent called to express concern about the closing and said that a similar service would cost $300 a month at Sylvan, Shinew reaction was: That’s probably what it costs to provide the service. Founded in 1946, the center is one of the oldest the country. It was named after one of its founders Martha Gesling Weber in 1997. “It’s a great center and has such a potential for outreach, but it’s tucked the fifth floor of the Education Building, and unless you’re a parent who uses it you wouldn’t know that it’s there,” Shinew said. The existing parking problems will get worse because of some spaces will be lost as Hanna Hall in expanded and renovated into the new Maurer Family Center, the new home for the College of Business. “At same time I’m looking at the mission of the reading center because what we were doing was not financially sustainable,” Shinew said. Originally, she said, the center was more oriented toward research. “It was a place where faculty and graduate students could research the process of learning how to read and try different strategies to see which would be more effective. … Over time it became more of tutoring center.” That tutoring was appreciated. Lindsay Moore said her children, a daughter in kindergarten and son in first grade, lacked confidence in their reading. She learned about the center through the Wood County Public Library, and enrolled the children there. They loved it. Her daughter thought of herself as “going to the university” and proudly wore her lanyard to kindergarten. “It was amazing,” Moore said. “It was like a transformation. They definitely turned corner in a few weeks. The environment there was so authentic, so pro-child.” Her children wanted to return they liked it so…


Graduating BGHS art students showcase their work in Senior Studio Show

Submitted by BGHS ART The 22nd Annual Bowling Green High School  Senior Studio Show featured 23 students displaying their work in the Four Corners Center Gallery on May 10. Award winners are: Best 3D award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival: MEGAN CARMEN for her horseshoe crab sculpture Best 2D award courtesy of Black Swamp Arts Festival: IAN BRACKENBURY for his colored pencil salamander Judge Reger Award courtesy of Judge Matt Reger: TRISHA STICHLER for her river painting Technical Merit Award courtesy of Waddington Jewelers: ELIZABETH MCCONNELL for her deer pin PTO Award courtesy of BGHS PTO: KELLY HAYDEN for her bubbles painting and DANA KLEMAN for her ceramic branch bowls Superintendent Award courtesy of Mr. Francis Scruci, BGCS Superintendent: NATALIE AVERY for her Finder’s painting. (This piece will be displayed permanently in the Central Administration.) The Board of Education Award courtesy of the BGCS Board of Education: ABBY FOX for her Wintergarden Woods painting (This piece will be displayed permanently in the BGHS Conference room). People’s Choice Award courtesy of Mr. Craft, Ben Franklin: NOVA CULLISON for his plastic bag chandelier. This award was voted on by those attending the show. Also exhibiting work were: Chloe Beeker, Nicholas Breen, Angel Chapman, Jordan Ely, Krista Evans, Ethan Fletcher, Sara Foster, Dea Kukeli, Lucie Moore, Rebecca O’Hare, Alex Peterson, Skye Sloane Kayla Schrader, and  Margo Utz. A string quartet from the high school orchestra entertained.  


Voters reject BG School’s bond issue for buildings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education was left bruised and battered Tuesday evening – from both a bitter levy campaign and a biting defeat at the polls. The district’s second attempt to pass a 5.7-mill bond issue for 37 years went down by a bigger margin than its first loss. The unofficial total on Tuesday night was 2,845 (40 percent) to 4,218 (60 percent). That compares to November’s vote of 3,471 (46 percent) to 4,021 (54 percent). “We are very disappointed,” school board President Jill Carr said late Tuesday evening. “We’re so committed to getting our facilities back to the high quality they were,” Carr said of the $72 million plan to consolidate the three elementaries, plus renovate and add onto the high school. “We wanted the best for students, teachers and community as a whole.” But many did not like the plan – either because of its effect on their pocketbooks or because it meant the end to “neighborhood” schools. Steve Bateson, one of those leading the opposition to the levy, issued a statement after the election results were in. “The voters joined together and spoke, defeating the bond issue for a variety of reasons. Some voters believe neighborhood schools are important, others felt that the additional tax was unfair,” he wrote. “This bond issue has been defeated twice and we hope the school board respects the decision of the voters and moves forward with a new plan that all members of our school district family can support for the success of our students and community,” Bateson stated. But finding a plan that all members of the district can support may be difficult. The school board brought in a school taxation expert who said the board’s request for a property tax was the best decision for the majority of the district residents. Principals at the schools offered Saturday tours to the public so show the poor condition of the buildings. But it wasn’t enough to convince the majority of the voters. “We are just going to have to step back and try to figure out what the next steps are,” board Vice President Ginny Stewart said. “Obviously the community wants something different.” The board will continue to work with school taxation expert David Conley to find a funding solution for the district. Critics of the bond issue has suggested that the $72 million price tag is too much, and could be reduced by renovating the 60-plus-year-old elementaries rather than building one centralized building. The opposition has also criticized the reliance on property taxes, which greatly affect the agricultural community. Supporters of the plan said the only way to provide equity in education for all elementary students was to build a consolidated school. They backed the property tax as the best way…


Courthouse tour lays down the law for BG students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There was a bit of disorder in the courts  Monday as Bowling Green sixth graders got a close-up view of “Lady Justice.” They sat in on a court case, they offered ideas for new laws, and they met with the sheriff. And as a bonus, they learned a bit on how the county handles emergencies. The kids were awestruck by the court proceedings, and suitably impressed by the grand Wood County Courthouse. But kids being kids – they sometimes found a different focus than the intended. For example, as architect Heidi Reger pointed out the intricate stone work on the front of the 1896 courthouse, she asked the students to find the faces and animals carved into the stone. “They liked to tell a lot of stories in the stones,” she said. But during one group’s tour, Reger had some competition from above when one of the Peregrine falcons roosting in the courthouse clock tower snatched a bird for breakfast. It wasn’t long before a burst of feathers came floating down from the clock tower. Once inside the courthouse, the students got to listen to cases presented to the Sixth District Court of Appeals. The lesson there might have been that real court cases aren’t necessarily as exciting as those portrayed on television. But the students sat respectfully with little fidgeting as a case was argued about who was responsible for paying for roadwork and causeway maintenance for Johnson Island. Though the legal arguments were tedious, technical and long-winded, the students sat quietly. One court constable suggested that the sixth graders were likely intimidated by the panel of three robed judges, or by the ornate courtroom with its stained glass ceiling. After sitting through the governmental arm that rules on the law, the students heard from state legislators that make the laws. State Senator Randy Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, both R-Bowling Green, talked about their routes to the statehouse. Gardner started out as a teacher, and Gavarone as an attorney and part-owner of Mr. Spots – which seemed to impress the students. Gardner stressed to the students that they are the bosses of state legislators. “If you live in Wood County, that means you’re our boss,” he said. “We listen to you.” Both talked about bills they sponsored that involved kids – such as legislation against bullying, requiring vision screening for students, and allowing students with asthma to carry their own inhalers at school. Gardner also talked about legislation introduced by students, like the bill designating the white-tailed deer as Ohio’s official state animal. “It came right from students,” specifically sixth graders who believed Ohio should have a state animal, he said. “It was really pretty cool.” Currently, other students in Ohio are working on legislation creating an official state…


BG DECA students’ runoff filtration idea cleans up at international conference

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Two DECA students from Bowling Green poured in on, and scored a second place finish at the International Career Development Conference in April with a pitch for a product to address Lake Erie’s algae problems. Sean O’Donnell and Jake Stucker, both Bowling Green High School juniors, placed second in the entrepreneurship idea contest at the DECA conference held in Atlanta with their idea for a filter that would address the runoff from farm fields that’s polluting Lake Erie. They were the top U.S. team with first place going to students from Ontario. And the pair says they’re not stopping there. “This is a huge market and could provide a future for us and families, and better future for people around the world,” O’Donnell said. They see the technology they are working on as being the foundation for a business. For that reason, they asked for a certain amount of discretion when describing the details of their idea. The have applied for provisional patents. Simply put, it is a filtration system that goes on the end of the piping from field tiles that removes the nitrates, phosphorus, and sediment that run into the Lake. That runoff messes with the lake’s ecosystem and can cause the kind of toxic algae growth that turned off the tap for much of the region during the Toledo water crisis in 2014. O’Donnell and Stucker have known each other since middle school. It was in seventh grade that they learned about the problem facing Lake Erie. But it was more recently when Stucker was having a conversation with a friend that the idea started to hatch. His friend, from Colorado, said she was headed west over winter break to go skiing. He lamented they had nothing so exciting here in Ohio. When she brought up Lake Erie, he said, it was too cold part of the year and toxic in the summer. This got him thinking about what could be done. This became the topic for his and O’Donnell’s DECA project. Trident Filters was born. Both are students in Penta Career Center’s satellite marketing program offered at Bowling Green High School. Their teacher Cara Maxey said the partners launched into the project with rare commitment.  “They worked extremely hard on their own networking,” she said. “They put in the extra time and effort outside the classroom that made the difference.” What they came up was “a real product,” with real world benefits. Usually students come up with “want-based products,” often related to fashion and cosmetics. The Trident Filter “is something the world needs,” Stucker said. “We were pretty stoked to do as well as we did,” O’Donnell said. “Right from the beginning, we wanted to take this as far as we could. We put in countless hours.” He stayed at…


Studying up on ‘neighborhood’ vs consolidated schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some Bowling Green area voters find the school levy numbers disturbing – not the monetary numbers but the numbers of students that would be using one centralized elementary if the levy passes. While some have protested the costs of the 5.7-mill levy spread out over 37 years, these citizens object to the merging of three elementaries into one centralized building. Supporters of the change say it will enable the district to provide consistency and equity in resources and opportunities for young students. Critics say students learn better in “neighborhood schools” as opposed to “factory schools.” Both sides of the issue have presented their rationale. And as with most controversial issues, there is plenty of data to support both points of view. Kimberly Christensen, of the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, said research shows pros and cons for smaller neighborhood schools and larger consolidated schools. Centralized schools offer “higher educational quality as a result of the wider menu of educational experiences” they can provide, Christensen said. There is more consistency and greater equalization, she said. In a building where all the grades are consolidated, the educational teams can offer more connected and integrated lessons, she said.  The children benefit from having all the support staff and specialized teachers in one location, she added. For example, if a student needs to see the school therapist, the child won’t have to wait days until the therapist makes rounds to that school building. And consolidated schools have higher fiscal efficiency, she said, since there are fewer redundancies. Smaller schools, Christensen said, tend to do a better job of making students feel connected. Studies have documented better relationships are likely to occur in smaller settings. “Students feel supported and cared for,” she said. Some research has shown reduced rates of student participation in extra-curricular activities in larger schools, Christensen said. And there are concerns about kids getting lost in the largeness. “Are you going to see some left out of the process,” she said. However, the latest trend seen in school districts seems to offer the best of both educational worlds, Christensen said. Districts are working to create small schools inside big consolidated schools. “If you create that environment, it makes the larger school seem smaller,” Christensen said. With this model, students can benefit from academic teaming, access to all support staff, and more connectedness at the same time. “As long as you can create that kind of intimacy of a small school in a bigger school,” she said. “It’s going to be so important to do that.” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci has said from the beginning that the new building would be divided into three different schools – one wing for K-1, another for grades 2-3, and one for 4-5….