VIDEO: 4 Things to Know About John Kasich’s Education Platform Ahead of The Summit
This video is part of a series that has been commissioned to introduce the political leaders who will be speaking at the New Hampshire Education Summit on August 19. Make sure to watch all the videos and read the complete series. You can also watch the Summit live on August 19 right here at The74Million.org. For more information, visit EdSummits2015.org.
Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich, is one of the confirmed Republican candidates who will be participating in the Education Summit in Manchester, New Hampshire on August 19. To give you a preview of his education record in Ohio and his K-12 platform, here is some information about Kasich. (You should also read our report on Kasich’s education record that was released when he announced his candidacy.)
Kasich, along with Florida Governor Jeb Bush, is one of the two Republican candidates who still support the Common Core. He voiced his support for the standards in an interview on Fox News in January. Just before announcing his campaign, Kasich told voters in New Hampshire that he may be unpopular for supporting the Common Core, but he believes in maintaining high standards and local control in his state. It is worth mentioning that Ohio has withdrawn from the PARCC testing consortium with Kasich’s approval.
This year, Kasich proposed a school funding formula that would allocate more money from wealthy school districts to poorer ones. He argued that districts with lower property tax values and lower incomes have limited resources to fund their schools. Kasich said, "It is a conservative point of view that every child should have the opportunity to succeed. I do not see this as redistribution, but rather as a way to allocate resources to children." The legislature eventually compromised and increased overall spending by $950 million, raised per-pupil aid, and guaranteed that no district would receive less aid compared to the previous year. However, the dispute over school funding is likely to continue. Kasich vetoed an $80 million fund in the state budget that was intended to prevent schools from experiencing a funding decrease due to the elimination of the personal property tax. State legislators are unhappy with the veto and may consider overriding it or proposing new legislation to counteract it when they reconvene next month.
The number of school vouchers available in Ohio has significantly increased during Kasich’s tenure, from 14,000 in the 2006-07 school year to 64,000 in the last school year. Students from the lowest-performing schools in the state are eligible for these vouchers, regardless of their family’s income. However, despite the large number of available slots, less than one-third of them were used last school year. This could indicate that parents are satisfied with their traditional public schools, rather than being a sign of the program’s failure.
The charter sector in Ohio has faced criticism due to various issues related to academics, finance, and ethics. According to the Washington Post, State Auditor Dave Yost described the situation as a "morass" with discrepancies between actual and reported enrollment numbers at charter schools, which receive funding based on these numbers. Recently, the School Choice Director, David Hansen, resigned after admitting to omitting failing grades for some charter management groups. Hansen’s wife, Beth, is Kasich’s former chief of staff and the campaign manager for his 2016 campaign. Kasich recently stated that he does not believe it is necessary for a special investigation into the issue. He mentioned that Hansen is no longer involved and that his administration has a strict policy regarding open and direct communication about charter schools. However, Kasich did express an interest in reforming Ohio’s education board, stating that it is highly partisan, polarized, and divided. The board consists of 19 members, with 11 elected and eight appointed by the governor. They are responsible for hiring and firing the state superintendent. Seven of these members have called for an investigation into the data issue regarding charter schools. Kasich believes that the governor should have the authority to choose the education leader. Since the creation of the education board in the 1950s, every governor has called for its reform.
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