Kasich cuts bite deep locally

A new report finds that the loss of teachers and other education staff is forcing communities into difficult choices that harm our children’s education and future, including increasing class sizes and shortening school years and days. The report shows that more than 300,000 local education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession – a figure that stands in stark contrast to previous economic recoveries. As a result, the national student-teacher ratio increased by 4.6 percent from 2008 to 2010, rolling back all the gains made since 2000. Increased class sizes have negative consequences for the future of America’s children at a time when education has never been more important to finding a good job and maintaining our competitiveness as a nation.

In Ohio, as Plunderbund notes, the effects of the Kasich budget have been similar and dramatic, as we now find local communities being asked to pick up the budget pieces

Over 63% of the school levies on the general election ballot are Kasich levies seeking to increase property tax funding for schools to replace the lost of state funding.

We catalogued the full list of school levies on the November ballot, here.

Governor John Kasich enacted Ohio's most draconian education cuts in the state's history, and as a consequence is now causing either local taxes to increase to meet the serious shortfalls, or degrading educational quality with increased class sizes, cuts in programs, nutrition, busing and sport.

He will have a chance to reverse this in his up coming budget, we urge him and the legislature to do so, our future, as the report below indicates, depends upon it Investing in Our Future Report

Education News for 10-02-2012

State Education News

  • Attorneys say T.J. Lane insane at time of Chardon High School shooting (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Lawyers representing the teenager accused of killing three students and wounding three others at Chardon High School earlier this year…Read more...

  • Judge says teacher did not deserve to lose license (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A Columbus special-needs preschool teacher should not have permanently lost her teaching license after her attempt to restrain a 4-year-old student…Read more...

  • Districts take innovative approach to teaching algebra (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • Struggling with algebra in high school often forces many college freshmen to take remedial math classes…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Edgewood rolls out tablet program (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • Edgewood High School’s senior class received their Acer tablets…Read more...

  • First-of-its-kind school to open here (Springfield News-Sun)
  • An agreement signed Monday will create the state’s first academy to train local students for high-paying…Read more...

  • Oregon forums to explore shifting of grades (Toledo Blade)
  • The Oregon school district will hold a series of community forums this month to discuss the possibility of reconfiguring grades…Read more...

  • School lunch goes high-tech with point-of-sale cards (Willoughby News Herald)
  • For many students, that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach after realizing lunch money has been lost or forgotten is part of the past…Read more...

  • Riverside School District will bring back teachers (Willoughby News Herald)
  • The Riverside School District has laid out exactly what it intends to bring back if voters approve a 3.9-mill levy next month…Read more...

  • Will Issue 107 levy help class sizes? (WKYC)
  • The Cleveland Schools are struggling with large class sizes, but there could be hope with the passage…Read more...

  • Schools see drop in real-estate distributions (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • Howland Local Schools saw a $780,000 drop in its most recent half-year real-estate distributions, Howland schools Treasurer…Read more...

Double down on failure

No Child Left Behind introduced the idea of high stakes education. Few today doubt it's failure.

More Americans think the No Child Left Behind Act, which has governed federal education grants to public schools for a decade, has made education worse rather than better, by 29% to 16%. Thirty-eight percent say NCLB hasn't made much of a difference, while 17% are not familiar enough with the law to rate it.

That rejection is across all demographic groups.

People know failure when they see it. But, rather than re-evaluate the consequences of pushing for ever higher stakes, corporate education reformers have doubled down.

We haven't even begun most efforts, but we've already lost the State Superintendent to scandal, have delayed critical school report cards because of an invesitgation into erasures, have an evaluation system few are going to be able to figure out - let alone implement, a voucher privatization scheme few parents have been interest in, and all in an environment of massive and reackless budget cuts, and appointments of college quarterbacks with no education background to the State Board of Education.

A doomsday bill for public ed

Innovation Ohio follow up on the news that the public school privatization bill (HB136) is going to change, with some interesting new analysis on what some of the proposed changes might mean

Huffman admitted that in its current form, HB 136 could create a potential “doomsday scenario” for Ohio’s public schools. He said that estimates of the bill’s cost to public schools—$500 million just to pay for students who already attend private schools, and nearly $1 billion in lost revenue once the bill was fully phased in—were “valid.”

The good news is that Huffman announced that a scaled back version of HB 136 would either be introduced as a new bill or rolled into a new education plan Gov. Kasich is expected to submit next year.

The bad news is that even this “scaled back” version would cost districts up to $76.5 million, effectively doubling the cost of private school vouchers from last year.

And many of Huffman’s proposed changes would still present public schools with massive problems.

Take his proposal to cap the amount of state money any district could lose at $4,500 per student, for example.

Under this proposal, locally raised property taxes would still be sent to private schools. Why? Because the $4,500 per pupil in state money Huffman cites is a phantom figure. Its what a district might get before “deductions” for Charter Schools, Open Enrollment, and other voucher programs. Last year, for example, the state provided public school districts with $6.5 billion—which equated to nearly $3,800 for each of the 1.75 million children in those districts. But after “deductions” for charters, vouchers, and open enrollment, that $3,800 shrunk to roughly $3,200. So if districts get $3,200 per pupil from the state—but could lost up to $4,500 per pupil for private school vouchers—they would still lose money. And that would require the schools to either cut programs or seek more funding from taxpayers through local levies.

You can read the whole piece here.

Turgid mandates

Gov Brown of California just issued a veto of a state bill that would have expanded testing even further than an already prescriptive system. We're not sure what our favorite line is, because there are so many good ones, but if pressed, "Lost in the bill's turgid mandates is any recognition that quality is findamentaly different from quantity." would be a contender.

Here's the entire veto letter.

SB 547 Veto Message

Civic Investment and the 'Skyboxing' of Education

Sadly, the public education your child gets often is only as good as the public education you and your community can afford. When state funding cuts put a popular program or teacher or even a planned building at risk, parents and boosters sometimes are asked to step in, reach out, and come up with money to fill the gap. Depending upon the wealth of the community, parents, boosters, and organizations often can offset some of the lost funding. However, no amount of private capital can replace the public funds and civic support lost through budget cuts.

Of course, not every community is able to raise private funds to help. And the level of need varies from school to school and community to community. A wealthy school district may need only new landscaping. Many districts, however, particularly those with significant populations of low-income families, don’t have enough textbooks or well-trained teachers.

In recent years, we’ve been witnessing the “skyboxing” of American education. Like their socioeconomic peers at ballgames, students in education skyboxes are buffered from realities most students face by their well-appointed educational accommodations: “Need an extra AP program? Right away, sir. Would you like an International Baccalaureate with that?” Meanwhile, the vast majority of students sit in the equivalent of bleacher seats, or they are stuck behind a pillar, squinting to see their teachers in overcrowded classrooms.

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