The House finance committee moved their substitute budget bill out of committee yesterday along a party line vote. Few changes were made to the education funding and policy piece, leaving the House budget bill underfunding Ohio's public schools by about $200 million less than the Governor's widely panned funding plan.
The House budget bill continues to hand gifts to the private school and for-profit charter school movement. There is a massive expansion of vouchers, only limited by household income needing ot be below 200% of the federal poverty line (currently ~$46,000). This means that for the first time, high performing districts could lose students and dollars to private schools that likely underperform their public school counterparts.
Steve Dyer has a good run down of the giveaways to charter schools, and especially the catastrophically bad eschools.
My hunch is this will allow one or both of two things to happen: 1) e-Schools to separate out their higher and lower performing schools and 2) e-Schools to collect more money. I'm becoming more and more impressed with William Lager -- the head of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. He is fast becoming the state's new David Brennan, giving big checks to politicians accompanied by nice budget carve outs.
Provides that an e-school is eligible to receive career technical education funding in addition to the core opportunity grant and special education funding.
Once again, kudos to William Lager for getting e-School hands into another pot of public money! While Career-Tech money only constitutes about $120 million over the budget cycle, it will only add to e-School profits. I mean, what better way to learn woodworking than over a computer! I know watching those YouTube demonstrations of how to cut outside mitres have really helped my carpentry. Ask my wife!
Permits a community school to charge tuition to a student who is not an Ohio resident.
The addition to the Houses's budget bill that caught the most attention however was a move to criminalize the teacher of sex education
The measure also would prohibit handing out contraception on school property.
A parent could sue an instructor who violates the provision and receive damages and attorney fees. And a court could issue a civil fine against the instructor of up to $5,000.
Moments before taking a vote on the amended bill, committee Chairman Ron Amstutz assured the budget was not about ideology.
When asked what motivated GOP lawmakers to propose the sex education changes, Amstutz said he didn't "have much to offer," adding that he would have to take another look at the bill's language.
"There's been a lot of questions about that," Amstutz said.
The amendment's language prohibits instruction by those who endorse "non-abstinence" or "gateway sexual activity." It defines "gateway sexual activity" by citing the Ohio Revised Code's definition of "sexual contact" listed under the section on sexual offenses. It describes such activity as any touching of an erogenous zone for the purpose of sexual satisfaction.
In short, the state budget now mandates that Ohio adopt an abstinence-only approach to sex education program.
But abstinence education doesn’t work. Research shows this. Teen pregnancies are highest in states with abstinence-only sex education. By contrast, teens who have had comprehensive sex education are 60 percent less likely to become pregnant.
In a state budget that already defunds Planned Parenthood and directs tax dollars to Crisis Pregnancy Centers that lie to women, Ohio lawmakers are moving the state in the wrong direction for Ohio’s women and young people.
Here's the Ohio Legislative Service Commissions document that compares the House version of the budget bill to that of the Governor's , in somewhat plain English