When Governor Kasich rolled out his original budget proposal, he culminated a months-long effort of trying to convince the citizens of Ohio that major reforms were needed for K-12 Education.  Senate Bill 5, while not a significant part of the original budget bill was a major player in this education reform.  So assured was the Governor about the necessity of these changes, the headline in his Reforms Book reads:

THE NEEDED REFORMS WE WILL IMPLEMENT

Needed?  I confess that until Senate Bill 5 was rolled out in February, I never realized how far the state of education in Ohio had fallen.  I initially thought that charter schools must be one of the reasons for the decline since I knew that they had increased in number over the last five years, but I quickly learned from the Ohio GOP that charters were soon to be part of the solution for saving our children.  Ride along with me on this informative journey about K-12 education in the Buckeye State as seen through the words of our state leaders.

The Ohio Department of Education posts school district data on their website as part of a “report card” that includes all student assessment measures.  In brief, these scores are summarized into a composite score for each district called a Performance Index (PI) Score.  This score is so important to identify the performance of schools and districts that it is specifically included by name twenty-one separate times in the Senate-approved budget bill to be used as a measure of school, district, and even teacher effectiveness.  Those statewide scores are so important and apparently illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that our schools are in bad shape that I have included them in this post alternating with statements from our leadership.

This, then, is the story of the downward spiral of K-12 education in Ohio.

84.41

The reforms we will implement are aligned to what successful schools require. These reforms will allow great teachers, principals, superintendents, and school boards to ensure student results. The Governor‘s reform agenda will move Ohio from being a manager of the educational status quo to becoming a model that other states will emulate. — John Kasich

86.25

We must hold Ohio’s entire education system accountable to ensure that all of our students are achieving at high levels. We need to set higher standards so our children can compete. — John Kasich

86.88

You know, you have some counties were you have six school districts. You don’t need six superintendents. How many principals? How many administrators? How many curriculum coordinators? We need to operate the schools more like a business. — John Kasich

90.04

The spine of this bill is that we need to turn away from the failing school model and look at true needs. — Representative Matt Huffman

92.53

Tradition is one of our greatest challenges.  The things we think are fundamental to education really aren’t. We believe in evaluating our schools and rewarding decisions that are driven by student results. — Robert Sommers, director of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education

95.71

We can no longer trap Ohio‘s children in chronically failing schools. — John Kasich

95.38

The message to teachers (is), we’re not slapping something together. We want you to participate, we are open to what will work. — John Kasich

94.98

The one thing we know about these schools is they’re failing children in a big way in the current structure. — Robert Sommers

96.09

Nothing should stand in our way of making Ohio an ability to lead in this country and be able to compete in the world. And we better commit ourselves to this and get this fixed. — John Kasich

96.74

What we face is this notion that the only way we can get better results is spend more money or hire more people. In the last decade, we’ve spent more money but have not gotten any better result. — Robert Sommers

To summarize the results for the past decade, a handy-dandy graph:

I know — you’re thinking it’s upside down or backward, right?  After everything I’ve heard from my own state Governor about failing Ohio schools and the NEEDED REFORMS we will be implementing to turn this state around, I expected declining student achievement.  And yet, as this graph shows, school districts in Ohio have been steadily improving over the past decade.  I get really concerned when John Kasich and Bob Sommers think that this represents failing children, failing schools, a lack of results, and a need to get this fixed, including soliciting feedback from teachers.  Here’s an idea — how about gaining an understanding of the reality of the situation before freaking out after watching some faux-school-reformer’s superhero flick that you sent Jai Chabria to pick up at the Redbox?  When you throw around the phrase “needed reforms,” how about being able to intelligently articulate your position with the available data to truly understand the difference between a tweak and an overhaul?

Regrouping . . . so the graph may be a bit misleading — I removed the data over that decade for Ohio’s charter schools.  As you may have heard, charter schools are fairly popular with the Governor’s crowd and recent legislation promotes the expansion of charters statewide.  The graph below shows two lines — the blue line from above with only public districts, and a new red line that displays statewide data that includes the charters.

It’s quite an amazing effect that those charters have on the achievement test results of Ohio’s students, isn’t it?  But I’m still left wondering where the major need for education reform can be found?  If anything, this data argues for the elimination of charter schools so those children can be returned to the public school districts where the education is of a much higher quality (again, according to the Performance Index Scores that the Ohio GOP has clearly identified as the primary measure for judging school and school district performance).  For reference purposes, the charter school boom in Ohio truly began in 2004-2005.  I suppose if they just keep replacing the existing public schools with charters then the results will eventually begin to decline.

That will be just in time for our next Governor to implement a K-12 Education Reform package, but way too late for those students being sold to the highest contributor.

Governor Kasich, selling yourself for personal gain is despicable enough, but the selling of others truly exposes your amoral character.

 

 

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