Ohio

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Michigan, Ohio lead nation in new ‘Digital States Survey’

by Tim Anderson ~ October 2016 ~ Stateline Midwest »
Michigan and Ohio have been recognized as national leaders in how they employ technology to improve state government operations and services. Released in September, the biennial “Digital States Survey 2016” graded all 50 states on criteria that ranged from cost savings to improved service delivery.
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In early 2012, a 17-year-old stood up in a high school cafeteria in northeast Ohio and began shooting. Three students died, three were injured. For the leaders of Ohio’s systems of mental health and developmental disabilities, that tragic incident became a call to action.
“After the fact, people said, ‘We had seen signs,’ but nobody knew what to do or how to connect with resources,” notes Tracy Plouck, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
What could the state do to help fill those resource gaps? How could it assist families and communities wanting to help a troubled young person? In part, the response has been the creation of Strong Families, Safe Communities, the goal of which is to improve care coordination and crisis-intervention services for individuals between the ages of 8 and 24 at risk of harming themselves or others due to a mental illness or developmental disability.
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Three years in the making, a new Ohio law is being lauded as a possible model for states across the country looking for ways to deal with the problem of abandoned, blighted properties. HB 390, which took effect this fall, establishes a “fast track” foreclosure process. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the process has sometimes taken two or three years, during which time the vacant property can become a problem for surrounding homes and an entire community.

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In 2012, concerned about the high rate of students who had to take remedial-level math and English classes during their first year of college, Ohio legislators decided to intervene. And the early results under HB 153 are promising. With this law in place, Ohio now sets college readiness indicators across all of its public colleges and universities. These statewide standards are then used to determine which students are placed into remedial-level versus college-level classes during their freshman year.
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Ohio lawmakers approved legislation this fall that will require more accountability and transparency in charter schools, which now educate one of every 10 students in the Buckeye State. Between 2003 and 2013, federal data show, enrollment in these alternative public schools jumped from 3.4 percent to 10.0 percent in Ohio.

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