Putting the brakes on drivers' ed
Apparently, drivers' ed in many Ohio districts has been on a long, strange trip to extinction.
As students went home for the holidays, Northwest High in Stark County -- which offered the last district-run classes in the Akron-Canton region -- permanently put its program in park.
District officials regret dropping the course, which provided 52 hours of instruction, compared with the 32 that most private schools offer.
``Driver's education has the potential to save your life every day,'' Northwest High guidance counselor and driver education instructor John Balas said.
But the program ``is just not cost-efficient anymore,'' said Northwest High Principal Steve Jones, who, like Balas, has taught hundreds of Northwest students to drive.
Enrollment has dropped significantly. As in other areas, the school's students have flocked to the private courses that require fewer hours of training for about the same cost. Northwest charged $250 this school year.
"Students are saying, 'I want to get this (license) and I want to get it quick,'" Jones said.
Previous state law prohibited the districts from offering high school credits for their courses, and apparently high school require more hours of instruction.
So it's not like drivers' ed is ending-- it's just that students will have to go to private schools. Which may be just as well. I distinctly remember my drivers' ed instructor challenging me to see how fast I could go down Lynn Lane outside of town (answer: over 65 mph. And that was in our school's beat-up Oldsmobile. My lead foot is congenital).
But driving laws are another matter. Here is this area, a person who is legally blind-- and I mean someone who requires 48 point Times font to read-- can get a drivers' license quite easily. You can probably marry your 14-year-old cousin here, too, though, so no real surprise.