The future of Ohio schools
The financial details of Gov. John Kasich’s “Achievement Everywhere” proposal to improve education in the state of Ohio is still being parsed, and it won’t be voted on in the General Assembly until June. In the meantime each of Ohio’s more than 600 public school districts will be crunching the numbers to determine the funding winners and losers.
But it is already clear that charter schools — or community schools as they’re called in Columbus — and parochial schools are potentially huge winners. This is both perplexing in the case of charter schools and troublesome in the case of parochial schools.
Pouring more money into charter schools — especially for-profit charter schools — that have not yet shown themselves capable, on the whole, of outperforming public schools defies logical explanation.
Results still not in
As we have said before, charter schools in Ohio were proposed as experiments, yet even as the results of the experiments ranged from unknown to under whelming to scandalous, the General Assembly, most often with a governor’s urging, has cut them an increasing share of the education pie.
Other states have been able to improve student outcomes through solid charter school programs, while Ohio spends billions of dollars on a largely ideologically driven conviction that anything must be better than public schools.
As to parochial schools, Kasich proposes that any kindergarten child who comes from a family with an income level less than 200 percent of the poverty rate, should receive a voucher to attend a private school. For a single parent with one child, that annual income would be $28,000. For a family of four, it would be $42,400. The next year, eligibility would be expanded to first- and second-graders. This is a recipe for massive subsidization of parochial education with public tax dollars.
It’s not only creeping privatization of public schools, it is a dangerous step across the line that is supposed to separate church and state.