"Can I vote 'no' twice?"
That was Mary Hufford's response when asked if she would vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich as president. Hufford is an Ohio teacher. And, like many in her profession, she is mad.
On Wednesday, Kasich joins a cast of Republican presidential hopefuls – Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and Chris Christie – in an education summit in early primary state New Hampshire.
Kasich says his record shows he championed increases in the overall state education budget; more money for charter schools and private-school vouchers; controversial takeovers of failing schools, most recently in Youngstown; and accountability measures for educating kids, such as the third-grade reading guarantee.
"I'm very happy to talk about my education policies, because they're really good," Kasich said Monday. As for educators speaking out against his policies, "I don't know who these people are, but it doesn't matter. We're doing better in Ohio."
Hufford teaches middle school language arts in Clermont County. She lays out her grievances: the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System; the botched roll-out – and subsequent scrapping – of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC tests; Kasich's $78.3 million cut to the education budget in July, a single line-item veto.
"Since Kasich took office, my teaching world has been falling apart," Hufford said. "The joy has been sucked out of the classroom, because everything is driven by the (state) test."
Would you vote for Kasich?
The Enquirer sent an email questionnaire to Southwest Ohio educators, and 96 percent of those who responded – 340 out of 355 people – said they would not vote for Kasich as president. Only 11 said yes, and four skipped the question.
It's not a scientific survey by any means. But 89 percent, 316 respondents, rated Kasich's impact on education in Ohio as "extremely negative." Six percent rated the governor's impact "slightly negative"; 3 percent said he has no impact; 2 percent rated him "positive, for the most part"; and about 0.25 percent, one person, rated him "extremely positive."
(Read more at the Cincinnati Enquirer)