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Obama Gives Education Policy Speech in Dayton area

Barack Obama's education plan focused on raising expectations and resources for schools, bringing innovation to the classroom, and holding teachers, parents and the government accountable for their performance. One feature of the innovation plan includes doubling the funding for charter schools, in part to give parents more choices on where they will send their children.

"Keep in mind that John McCain will say that he's arguing for choice by allowing money and students to drain out of the public schools. I believe in public schools, but I also believe in fostering competition within the public schools," Obama said.

Obama acknowledged that Ohio has had problems with for profit charter schools. Over half of the state's charter schools received academic warning or academic emergency ratings in 2008. Obama says he will be working closely with Governor Strickland to hold charter schools accountable.

He also emphasized the important role education plays creating a successful American workforce.

"If we want to out compete the world of tomorrow, we have to out educate the world of today", says Obama.

Beavercreek resident Lisa Grisay is a mother of two and she says she was impressed with Obama's education plan. She says that he's inspired her in her own education as well.

"I've always followed politics but I've never been so moved and inspired to go out there and do something about it. Listening to Senator Obama for the last year has inspired me to go back to college for the first time in 20 years, so I'm currently a student," says Grisay.

Democratic candidate for Ohio's 7th Congressional District, Sharen Neuhardt, attended Obama's speech. She says that Obama's plan for education reform is "right on" and important to the future of Ohio.

"Working Ohians see the facts that their schools aren't getting the funding they need, that there kids aren't getting an education, and more importantly that they're not having the funds to go on to college and that is terrible because part of the American dream is slipping away," says Neuhardt.

Patricia Leppla is a speech pathologist from Germantown Ohio who agreed with much of Obama's speech. She says there are many challenges facing the Ohio education system, a major one being the inequity in funding for rural towns from towns with a lot of industry.

"And we also live in a community where a lot of people have been affected by the closures of some of the auto plants and so it's really hard for people," Leppla added, "They want education for their kids, but it's everything they can do to make ends meet."

Senator Obama addressed concerns about Ohio's economy after his speech. He held a private meeting with workers from ABX Air facing layoffs. 8,000 jobs may be lost in southwest Ohio when DHL closes its hub in Wilmington early next year.