“Governor Kasich needs to invest more in public education”

Becky-HigginsBy Becky Higgins, OEA President

Governor John Kasich’s State of the State address was full of lofty rhetoric, but was short on substance. On several occasions, the Governor said that more details would be forthcoming.Here are a couple of things we’d like to see the Governor address:How does he plan to adequately fund Ohio’s public schools? Why does the state continue to direct millions of dollars to failing for-profit charter schools?

The economic security of our state and all of its citizens begins with our success in educating every child. We are all accountable for this success. But only our governor and state lawmakers can provide the funding and programs needed for our students to thrive.

Their failure to do so has jeopardized the education of Ohio’s children—the very cornerstone of our collective future.

In his first biennial budget, Governor Kasich cut funding to education by $1.8 billion over the previous two-year period. In his second budget passed last June, school districts received $515 million less than they received in the last year of the Strickland administration.

Today, three out of four school districts are operating with fewer state resources than they received in

2011. Because of cuts in state funding, 90 percent of school districts reduced the number of educators, class offerings and afterschool programs for 2013-2014. The cuts have also shifted the responsibility of funding our traditional public schools from the state to local property owners like you and me.

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Ohio’s school districts have lost even more funding to charter schools, many of them run by for-profit operators. Under Kasich’s watch, an unprecedented amount of state funding has shifted from higher- performing traditional public schools to lower-performing charter schools.

Despite these detrimental funding cuts, public schools continue to outperform charter schools.

The latest Ohio Report Card shows that more than 41% of charter schools earned an F. Only 20% of charter schools earned an A or B. Compare these statistics with Ohio’s local public schools, where only

11% districts earned an F. A majority of the districts earned an A or B.

The average charter gets an F in four-year graduation rates and a D in five-year rates. Traditional public districts average Bs in both.

Competition hasn’t helped our public schools, but it’s certainly harmed them by shifting needed money from the schools that educate 90 percent of Ohio’s children.

When will our governor realize that the corporate model simply doesn’t work for education? Schools are not meant to be businesses, and our students are not meant to be products.

The one business idea that does work for education is this—investment.

To reduce inequality and create opportunities for success, Ohio must make an investment in its public schools. Opportunity can’t happen if all children and adults are not provided with a solid education, regardless of where they live or their economic status.

What kind of investment is needed?

Start with restoring budget cuts to public education and create a funding formula that meets the educational needs of all of Ohio’s students. And support what works—teachers, parents and communities working in partnership to inspire children to learn and achieve.

As with most investment, risks are involved. But the rewards—securing our children’s future and the future of Ohio—are well worth the risks.

One thought on ““Governor Kasich needs to invest more in public education”

  1. Becky’s response should be published in every newspaper in Ohio…very educational! Thanks, Pat

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