Gov. Kasich has developed a mid-term state budget proposal that has plenty of his personal motives for our education system thrown in. His plan includes an array of policy changes that he is touting as necessary to make Ohio a more economically competitive state. His plan is called “Ohio’s 21st Century Education & Workforce Plan.”
Our big question is who is going to pay for all this? We also wonder where our governor has been all these years—living under a rock? Here are many items that have been proposed or tried before:
* The Third-Grade Reading Guarantee: Citing a recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that flags third grade as pivotal for reading ability, Kasich wants all third-graders to be held back if they can’t read, even if teachers already are spending extra time tutoring these students. This strategy has not worked in the past.
* Teach kids about careers: Kasich is leading the charge to have all students know more about work options and the type of education they need for those jobs. All teachers would be required to add this instruction to an already-overloaded curriculum.
* A new measuring system for school districts: Under the new plan, schools in all districts would be graded and compared just like their students, given A–F for their degrees of success in reaching new standards. According to Kasich, more than 90 percent of the state’s schools would receive an “F.”
* Let third parties decide which teachers keep their jobs: Kasich wants to let administrators off the hook by allowing outsiders to do classroom observations. He is recommending that teachers who don’t pass must be subjected to a “test” (designed by outsiders) and fired if they can’t pass. We don’t need to tell you what our reactions are to this idea.
* Give dropouts another chance: Kasich is calling for unique curricula for students who have given up on graduating, with additional support services they need to ensure success. We agree that this could be a good idea. But it is not clear who would teach the students or where they would attend school—or who would pay for this additional layer of instruction.
* Grade the preschools: Kasich proposes assessing all publicly funded early childhood programs. Right now, rating is voluntary. It’s not a bad idea. We feel that many of these schools are not ready. We question what standards would be used and who would develop them.
We caution our governor: Take a step back and let’s make sure we do this right. We will keep you informed as we receive more information about the plan.