The Columbus Dispatch has cheered on the Governor's education "reform" plans every step of the way, from the draconian budget cuts, to SB5 - the Governor has had the full support of the state capital's newspaper of record. A need to improve the quality of Ohio's public education system, challenge the "status quo" has been their rally cry.
We were shocked then, to not read any editorial in this weekend's Dispatch criticizing the Governor for his appointment of an unqualified candidate to the State board of Education.
According to the Dispatch's own reporting, the Governor appointed Stanley Jackson, without ever having seen his resume. The Governor claiming Mr. Jackson's involvement in a charter school was qualification enough, only to discover that the charter school does not yet exist, and before Mr. Jackson can even spend one day on that job, he will resign from his fake school in order to avoid legal complications.
Furthermore, according to reports from NPR,
However, Jackson has not actually filed to run for state Board of Education, according to the Allen County Board of Elections. The deadline to file is Aug. 8.
StateImpact also reports that Mr. Jackson was an OSU dropout and never obtained his degree.
The State board of education has a full plate of policy to implement and guide, from common core, to teacher evaluations, and a new reading guarantee just for starters - it needs to have qualified people with a deep understanding of the issues in order to be successful, something Mr. Jackson does not posses.
Given these facts, why then has the Dispatch editorial board remained silent? Does their support of the Governor's education policies stop at the waters edge once criticism of their implementation is warranted?
Instead what the Dispatch editorial board decided to publish this weekend was another rehash of the SB5 fight, a sign that the Dispatch cares more about it's partisan politics than policies, even those it allegedly supports.
Jackson, district officials and CTU representatives all said today that they negotiated an agreement on the plan because it will provide a better education for students.
As CTU President, David Quolke said, "This agreement is a testament to the idea that when collective bargaining trumps conflict, progress can be made that helps the children of Cleveland."
Frank Jackson got into this mess because he didn't show respect to the teachers in his school district, and didn't trust the collective bargaining agreement. He famously avoided involving educators in his reform plan because
"We need to get something done," he said. "We've been in perpetual discussion about a lot of things. Our sense of urgency is such that something has to happen in a systemic way and it has to happen now."
How much delay was caused? A week? Maybe 2? If he had of respected the teachers and the process, imagine the good will that would have been garnered, instead of the acrimony.
If the defeat of SB5 wasn't a strong enough message, maybe politicians will look at this example and finally realize that collective bargaining and collaboration will get you far further, much faster than a my way, or the highway approach.
This should cause some pause for thought however
Under what statute does the Greater Cleveland Partnership get to sit in on negotiations between public employees and their government employer? The GCP was front and center supporting the Governor's efforts via SB5 to dismantle worker protections, and they were instrumental in adding the union busting measures into the "Cleveland plan" too. Now a deal is done - let's see them step up to the plate and fund efforts to pass a much needed levy. That, after all, is still the biggest crisis facing Cleveland Municipal Schools.
In a downtrodden press conference that broke little new news, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Representative Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), House Finance and Appropriations Chairman Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), Senate Minority Whip Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and Senate Education Chairwoman Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) spoke about the "Cleveland Plan".
The plan still has no sponsors, nor co-sponsors. The sticking points for the Democrats continues to be the anti-union SB5 like provisions, and the secretive, non democratic nature of the so-called "transformation alliance". For the Republicans the shadow cast by a plan that has many elements of SB5, and some of the charter school accountability measures that are opposed by some of the largest campaign contributors are sticking points.
Some of Jackson's continued rhetoric, for example "those concerned about the Cleveland plan & Senate Bill 5 shouldn't be", are signs that the Mayor still views his plan as a sacred cow, and not a starting place. That's a pity and might doom an enterprise to rescue Cleveland schools from academic and financial crisis that everyone recognizes and wants to deal positively with.
Here's the draft legislation of the "Cleveland Plan" the proposes to resurrect major aspects of SB5, despite voters rejecting that approach overwhelmingly just 4 months ago.
So it looks like we might have a re-hash of SB5 in an election year. This is probably not the sleeping legislative agenda that members of the General Assembly had in mind going into an election year. There is a reason we normally do budgets in non-election years. But John Kasich is not a normal Governor. Stay tuned.
It sure looks like Frank Jackson is going to force Republican lawmakers to religislate SB5, in an election year. The only question left is, will any Democrats be drawn into the suicide pact along with them?