Even though he’s a Republican, I just called my State Senator to express my displeasure at the Senate GOP’s proposal, specifically, that they would revoke the requirement that schools provide all-day kindergarten next year, or waivers permitting, as soon as they can, but providing additional funding over what the state budget already provided to private, parochial schools. I made a mistake in not taping the conversation with his aide, who was polite, but seemed more interested in telling me why I was wrong than listening to what a taxpayer and constituent had to say.
Here’s my question: Senator Cates has been saying that school district in his Senate district, like Lakota, don’t have the financial resources to have all-day kindgarten, why not direct the $70 million that the GOP Senate plan would direct to parochial schools in additional funding to those public school district so we might be able to have all-day kindergarten?
Response: “Well, it’s because the private schools got such a hit in the budget and we’re restoring that funding?”
ME: “Yeah, but why them? After all they’re private schools. They’re part of the private free-market. Why should government-run schools go without the necessary resources they need to have effective early childhood education just so we can subsidize a private enterprise? You know how much money my business gets in government subsidies? None. You know why? Because I’m a private business.”
AIDE: “Yes, but those parents paid taxes and don’t get the benefit of their tax dollars…”
ME: “Well, first, that’s the consequence of them exercise their right to school choice. Second, my tax dollars go to universities and libraries and a bunch of other educational institutions that neither I, nor anyone in my family, will ever attend. So why should parents of parochial students get more subsidies when we’re cutting back on the resources we’re giving public schools and taking a step back away from early childhood education? Why not just give the money to the public schools so they have the resources you say they lack to have all-day kindergarten?”
ME: “I guess I should just ask you, does Senate Cates support having universal all-day kindergarten in Ohio’s schools?
She responds by suggesting yes, but then saying we simply cannot do it in a year.
ME: “Look, it’s one thing to say we cannot do it in a year, but I’m asking: does Senator Cates want it to be done at all?”
She then responds by saying yes, but saying that Cates hasn’t seen anything from the Ohio Department of Education saying how much its going to cost or that its really beneficial.
We ended the call because I sensed that nothing I said was ever going to be reported to my elected representative. She didn’t ask me for my name, address, phone number… all she asked was for my zip code.
Call your State Senator and ask, why should we get rid of having all-day kindergarten but give millions more to private schools than Ohio’s budget already provides?
Ask them if the issue is reducing the deficit, why are they increasing spending?
And get your friends to call.