Imagine for a minute the media coverage that would have resulted if Governor Kasich proposed cutting the state funding for students with disabilities.  School districts would be required to identify students with Deafness, Visual Impairments, Orthopedic Impairments, Specific Learning Disabilities, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and more, but any district spending requirements would be eliminated.

Or imagine the number of national media outlets that would have descended upon Columbus if Governor Kasich announced the slashing of funding for students identified as Black, stating that these 281,445 students across the state would only receive educational opportunities through one of the state’s Educational Service Centers (if their district partnered in this capacity).  Forget the occasional mention on MSNBC, images of Ohio would dominate NBC, ABC, CNN, CBS, and even FOX News.

So when the Governor announced and the House confirmed the obliteration of state funds for a special needs population that is just as large (278,747 students, 16%), where was the outcry?

Ohio students identified as gifted are often categorized as being rich, white children in wealthy suburbs whose parents can afford to send them to private schools.  Even if that were true (I’ll explain why it’s not), it should have absolutely no bearing on the implementation and funding of a public school program.  A public school program in Ohio should mean equal opportunities for all students, black or white, rich or poor, with or without special needs.

As far as those gifted students being wealthy?  Nearly twenty percent (54,323) are also identified as economically disadvantaged, and nearly 23,000 are enrolled in the Ohio 8 districts, the eight largest urban districts in the state.

In Kasich’s Budget Book, right as he is eliminating over 61 million dollars annually, the Governor has the audacity to describe some of the complexities involved in gifted education.

Gifted education focuses on identifying and serving students who perform, or show potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment compared to others of their age, experience, or environment. Services include resource rooms, self-contained classrooms, and accelerated coursework. Instruction is based on the identified needs of students and a written education plan. Gifted education requires modifications, such as a differentiated curriculum, more open-ended and abstract tasks, an emphasis on analytical thought and problem solving, and increased emphasis on multidisciplinary and research-focused studies.

Gifted education requires as much specialization as do the other two categories of “Learners With Special Needs and Talents” identified by the Ohio Department of Education: Students With Disabilities and Limited English Proficient Students.  I’ll ask again, would the GOP-led House have passed a Budget that discarded support for either of these populations?  Why should Ohio’s children be penalized for showing “potential for performing, at remarkably high levels of accomplishment compared to others of their age?”

 

One has to wonder if Lt. Governor Mary Taylor spoke without Kasich’s permission when she addressed a school choice rally by stating:

School choice is not about doing away with public schools, it’s about making them better. … Ohio’s future depends on our children being the best and the brightest in the world.

And what better way to cultivate Ohio’s “best and brightest” children than to dispense with any state funding for their services?  Perhaps she just read her Kasich talking points incorrectly.  Does the Governor really care about the “best and brightest” in Ohio?  From his state of the state address:

Young people, you know, our kids and our grandkids are leaving this state for better opportunities. One-third of Ohio college graduates are leaving this state within three years of graduating. Our best and our brightest, our seed corn, have decided that they need to go somewhere else to realize their hopes and dreams. That’s a terrible situation.

Hmm . . . that’s actually more confusing than helpful.  What else you got, John?

[Other states] all come inside the boundaries of Ohio and they try to lure away our best and brightest.

We need the resources to compete with these other states that are in here trying to take the best and the brightest of what we have.

Ahh . . . that Governor’s a sneaky one.  By cutting funding and required services for our best and brightest K-12 students, John Kasich can prevent other states from luring them away.  By suppressing their academic growth, our students will fall behind those in other states and be less attractive to outside recruiters.  I honestly never saw that one coming.  I do have concerns, though, about the long-term effect of this on Ohio’s own access to the best and brightest.  Governor Kasich, what’s the plan when Ohio’s kids and grandkids fall behind others academically?

I’m always going to search for the best and the brightest, and those that share my philosophy.  We haven’t seen the end of efforts inside of our administration to find quality people who share my philosophy who bring more diversity.

We have to jump through hoops and cross T’s and dot I’s while the best and the brightest are available to teach in other parts of America?  Oh, Teach for America is coming to Ohio. I promise you that.

Again, not an outcome I would have predicted, though I should have seen that coming.  The Governor cuts funding to the “best and brightest” in Ohio, reducing state funding to schools, creating a scenario where Ohio’s students either suffer academically or leave the state, enabling the Governor to go out of state in order to find the “best and brightest” to fill his jobs.

I truly could not have imagined these events when I read Kasich’s Reform Book:

Education is the key to personal prosperity, and our state‘s long-term success. Education does not operate in a vacuum and must respond to an ever-changing world that includes the following:

  • A globally competitive marketplace. Our children will compete globally for jobs and economic prosperity.
  • Rising expectations for knowledge and skills. Advanced learning is the new normal for today‘s jobs. A good high school education is not sufficient to prepare young people for competitive jobs in today‘s economy. Blue collar jobs require knowledge and skills that exceed our traditional expectations for entering college.
  • Urgency for all students to succeed. If Ohio is to become competitive nationally and internationally, we must greatly increase the number of students who succeed.

I read that to mean that the Governor wouldn’t be cutting 61 million dollars per year to school districts that must:

In addition to defining who is considered gifted in Ohio, the rule and/or law provides that:

  • Districts must have an identification plan and local board policy approved by ODE;
  • Districts must have regular opportunities for assessment for giftedness based on referrals from teachers, parents or other children;
  • Children who are culturally and linguistically diverse, from low socio-economic status, with disabilities and/or who are limited English proficient must be included in the identification process;
  • Parents must be notified of assessment results;
  • Parents have an opportunity to appeal;
  • Districts must accept assessments given outside the district by trained personnel;
  • Districts must distribute their gifted identification policy to parents.

I also read that to mean that Ohio would be working to improve the quality of education for all students, to challenge all children to excel at the highest level possible, to provide the opportunities for every student, including those identified as the “best and brightest” in order to prepare them for competitive jobs in today’s ever-changing world.

I’m again left pondering Kasich’s introductory line from his Reform Book, Education section:

Budgets are about more than money. Budgets express an administration‘s priorities.

 

 

 

 
  • Jill Miller Zimon

    Thanks for this post. The OAGC is doing an amazing job – and has always done an amazing job – of debunking the myths and pressing our state electeds to recognize the value in our midst. Kasich’s mistakes will be perilous and long-lasting though I continue to hold out some hope that the State Senate will see reality as it is.

  • Daria

    There are so many responses to this column that I cannot pick just one. Kasich shows with this section of the budget that he thinks the children of Ohio are either not gifted so why spend any money on them OR he thinks that gifted student will certainly be able to master the watered-down curriculum that he wants to push through the schools without additional enrichment – they will teach the rest of the kids! Maybe his girls do not qualify as gifted, so he is jealous of those that do. Maybe he did not qualify as gifted when he was growing up in Pennsylvania, and so he is serving revenge on children who are identified as gifted. Maybe he wants the children of Pennsylvania to be more successful than the children in Ohio, so he is cutting the funding to gifted programs. One thing is certain. Kasich doesn’t want votes in 2014!

  • Daria

    There are so many responses to this column that I cannot pick just one. Kasich shows with this section of the budget that he thinks the children of Ohio are either not gifted so why spend any money on them OR he thinks that gifted student will certainly be able to master the watered-down curriculum that he wants to push through the schools without additional enrichment – they will teach the rest of the kids! Maybe his girls do not qualify as gifted, so he is jealous of those that do. Maybe he did not qualify as gifted when he was growing up in Pennsylvania, and so he is serving revenge on children who are identified as gifted. Maybe he wants the children of Pennsylvania to be more successful than the children in Ohio, so he is cutting the funding to gifted programs. One thing is certain. Kasich doesn’t want votes in 2014!

  • Annekarima

    Hmmm…well…once upon a time there was Hitler’s Youth…maybe with all these plans for education reform in Ohio, the plans include taking the “best and brightest” for “kasich’s kids”? Naaawwww………never happen.

  • Mrs Johnson Fh

    What we invest in determines what we value. Apparently, Kasich does not value our gifted public school students.

  • Littleguy

    It isn’t just gifted. I talked to someone from an educational service center today. Caseloads are being doubled and tripled for folks like psychologists, speech and hearing, and other special needs. The person I talked to is expected to service 80 students in a week at three different schools 20 miles apart and then do all the paperwork for those 80 on his own time. Ridiculous what John Kasich and this legislature is doing to education in Ohio. It is a shame. It is going to take us a long time to recover from this idiot.

  • Anon

    Thanks, glad I don’t have children but especially school aged children. Feel bad for them because their parents voted to screw them or didn’t vote at all.

  • Anon

    He doesn’t value anyone unless they are part of the “5% who got bucks”. That does not include children since they can’t buy him off like the evil rich.

  • Actually, they can.

    According to Ohio law ( ORC 3517.102 ), you only have to be “seven years of age or
    older” to give the maximum campaign contributions to candidates.

    http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Upload/candidates/CFGuide/chapters/2010CFguide_Statutes.pdf

  • @536445e92ecb004c9ebc16e90311e588:disqus Exactly right. Gifted and talented kids’ parents will pull them out of public schools and put them in charters or private schools where resources remain. The public school failure meme becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Kasich and his republican ghouls relish the thought of the complete failure of the public and the commons. To expedite it, they will starve what works, what shows promise, and whatever vestiges of the New Deal/ Great Society remain at this point. Neoliberalism in action.

  • It seems to me that Kasich is only interested in privatizing education. Those who are not economically capable of someplace like Worthington Christian School don’t deserve to have a quality education. Unfortunately, what this buffoon does not seem to realise is that quality public schools are what are going to ensure that our children are provided with all of the opportunities that will maximize their potential!

    We must get a recall available to correct the mistakes that happen and allow the misled to see the truth and vote so that we don’t have to let the whole state go down with the ship!

    And…Mr. Kasich, I have ONE QUESTION: Where are the jobs?

  • Adrienne Knight

    What jobs? The evil radical R’s got their job creation with the evil richies tax cuts. They have the best govt that they can buy on the cheap out from under us.

    Do people understand that unless you are really rich (not just have a high income) that the evil radical R’s do NOT work for you?

    Whether you equate him to the Sheriff of Nottingham or Prince John, the outcome is the same, robbing us to give to the rich. Minimal taxation with zero representation works for the the evil radical R’s and their true constituents the evil richies.

  • Anon

    That does not help my brother’s family since they can’t afford to buy their own governor.

  • Beca117

    I wonder what will happen when parents of special needs children start filing Due Process hearings – at the cost of school district. Special Ed has FEDERAL rules to follow…..

  • Beca117

    I wonder what will happen when parents of special needs children start filing Due Process hearings – at the cost of school district. Special Ed has FEDERAL rules to follow…..

  • Anonymous

    It won’t be charters — those are nothing but education-on-the-cheap warehouses intended as pass-throughs for our education tax dollars to end up in private pockets.

  • Anonymous

    No, they won’t. Gifted education is too expensive. It requires expanded programs and the most dynamic, highly trained teachers who won’t work for peanuts. Kasich’s aim in to drain the money from every program to put it into private pockets — not to demand that charters provide expensive or quality education.

  • Anonymous

    No, they won’t. Gifted education is too expensive. It requires expanded programs and the most dynamic, highly trained teachers who won’t work for peanuts. Kasich’s aim in to drain the money from every program to put it into private pockets — not to demand that charters provide expensive or quality education.

  • buckeyekelly

    I will FOREVER misunderstand the concept that funding schools other than public schools with public dollars somehow enhances public schools. If I underwater a plant, will it grow taller? If I give my second child less food will he gain more weight than my first? If I put less gas in my tank will I get better gas mileage? If I light fewer candles will my room become brighter? The analogies could go on and on (some great visuals by the way if someone on the anti-school choice racket wants to talk about messaging).

    In what universe does NOT investing in a company help that company grow? I have to call into question any audits Ms. Taylor completed while in that capacity from 2006-2010. Because she can’t possibly buy the line that underinvesting in something stimulates positive growth.

    How is THIS moving at the speed of business.

  • guest

    Agreed, to get the “public system” to fail to make it easier to destroy.

  • Anonymous

    I am not surprised by this. Gifted students, of which I was one, have always gotten the short end of the stick in the academic process. Many teachers and administrators still do not believe that gifted students have special educational needs.

    And with King John’s demonstrated animus towards teachers, I suspect that he was not a gifted student and retains his jealousy to this day.

    I was blessed in the early 60s to have a principal who recognized that I needed extra, meaningful work to capture and maintain my attention and prevent misbehavior from boredom. I thrived all throughout my academic career, from grade school through graduate school.

    My son, who was also a gifted student, had no such teacher or principal. The principal at his relatively affluent Catholic school demanded that teachers teach to the mean, as enrichment programs were, in her words, elitist and unfair. Not surprisingly, he hated school, got poor grades and routinely misbehaved. Only half-day attendance at a public vocational schol got his attention and turned him around.

  • dlw

    True in an overly generalized kind of way. There are individual charters that are standouts and serve kids really really well… so if the public schools scrap their gifted programs (and I doubt that most will), it is possible that we’ll see a few more stellar charters pop up.

    I don’t like charters and think we should focus our time, energy, and money on our public school system. But… I still acknowledge that there are a few stand up charters in Ohio.

  • Anastasjoy

    Cleveland Heights is naming a school after DeLisle. We were sorry to see her go, and it is absolutely criminal how she was treated by Kasich. He isn’t looking for the best and brightest; he’s looking for robotic yespeople.

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