As we’ve pointed out over the last couple of days, Ohio’s private schools are exempt from the same level of standardized testing requirements that are stressing out teachers, students, and parents in the public schools.  These exemptions occur because of the ways the laws are written by Ohio’s elected state officials — they simply make the laws apply only to the public school children, omitting nonpublic (i.e., private) schools from the vast majority of the testing requirements.

Currently, students in Ohio’s public schools are required to test a minimum of 20 times throughout their 13 years (K-12).  Meanwhile, students in the private schools (including Catholic schools) are only required to take the Ohio Graduation Tests when they are in high school.  The public schools have the burden of engaging children when they are 8 or 9 years old in third grade in the process of high-stakes testing when they take the 3rd grade reading test in October and again in April along with the math assessment.  These children then take the reading and math tests again every year through 8th grade in addition to science tests in grades 5 and 8.

The results of these 15 standardized tests between grades 3 and 8 are used to grade and criticize the performance of the students, the schools, and the teachers in Ohio’s public schools while the private schools coast along unscathed by the watchful eye of the state and the media.  In Ohio, there are currently over 440 nonpublic schools serving over 175,000 children that are completely exempt from Ohio’s rigid standardized testing program.

It’s not an accident — it’s precisely the way the laws are (and aren’t) being drawn up and passed by Ohio’s Republican majority.

Let’s start with Governor John Kasich.  You may remember that Kasich decided to stay in his personal residence instead of moving to the Governor’s mansion to keep his daughters close to their friends and their private Christian school.  While the public school children in Westerville will be taking 20 high-stakes standardized tests, Kasich’s daughters are exempt from 75% of those tests – only needing to take the 5 OGT tests in 10th grade.

While this helps to explain why Kasich doesn’t care about what’s going on in our public schools, there’s a greater travesty at the point where the majority of our education laws actually originate — the Ohio House Education Committee.

The Ohio House of Representatives Education Committee is dominated by Republicans who are able to pass through laws with regularity due to their majority (12 of the 19 members are Republican).  As they have been passing education “reform” laws such as the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and the new school report cards that assigns letter grades and is based so heavily on student results on Ohio’s standardized tests, these members could have easily amended the laws to include the 400+ private schools serving 175,000+ Ohio children.

But they didn’t.  And now we know why — they didn’t want their own children or their friends’ children to be subjected to the educational malpractice of testing, testing, testing.  Neither did they want the schools they support to be exposed to the same public scrutiny that the rest of Ohio’s educational institutions are getting.

Ohio’s Republican House Education Committee members only care about their own personal interests — the private schools (or homeschool) where they send their own children.  Let’s break it down by member.

In summary, of the 12 members on the committee, only three have children enrolled in Ohio’s public school system, three have no school-aged children, and the other six have specific connections related to opting out of Ohio’s public schools and opting their children out of the state’s standardized testing mess.  Four of the members currently have children enrolled in private Catholic schools that have remained exempt from the litany of new laws passed by this committee.

In the Senate, only one of the seven Republicans on the 10-member Education Committee has school-aged children (enrolled in public schools).

This continued exclusion of private schools from the myriad of new education laws is no oversight on the part of Kasich & Company — these are purposeful actions by individuals looking out for their own special interests.

  • Stephanie M

    Wonder what Bill Hayes’ wife thinks about all of this. . . she was a public school teacher. I’m sure she’s proud. . .

  • john condo

    back in the 1990 the teacher union was so worry about Catholic thy overlook the charter schools ,leave the Catholic school alone their doing find without Govt. help

  • Gene

    I wonder if the State money is used to improve the security and staff , house and facilities ,of John Kasich ‘s residence beings he wants to live in his own ( according to this article) residence instead of the Governor’s mansion. (I thought a past article claimed he was living in his father’s home). When G.W Bush was President, a newspaper article told of the re-doing and re-modeling of his home for all the security and staff needed due to him spending so much time at his ranch. No wonder G. W .Bush passed a law giving President’s life- time security and protection. Now we will have a full time FBI staff following O Bama around the rest of his life after he leaves the Presidency.
    Apparently, this article agrees with John Kasich calling himself a Christian finally as it describes his child going to a Christian school.
    A chameleon , he is. He’s a Catholic and always will be a Catholic. He was first described as , a Catholic , then a Catholic evangelical, than a envangelical or evangelical Christian , I believe, and finally a Christian. It’s not so hard to see why John Kasich wants to deny he is a Catholic. , when five members , at least, of his education committee are Catholics and send their children to Catholic schools.
    And all of his Catholic friends on Fox Broadcasting, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O Reilly, and others as well as the influence of Bill Cunningham on his program shows how the Catholics are pushing their religious agenda behind the mask of Conservatism.
    John Boehner is supposed to be a Catholic , I’ve read, yet when he finally dove into these traitorious American- pretending, patriotic pretending phonies, who call themselves Conservatives , they’ve turned against him. Because the Republicans have pushed the Conservative agenda and it failed and these anti-government haters want to shift and throw the blame on John Boehner and the real Republicans to cover their evil agenda which is to use the Republican party to get control of our government and get rid of, eliminate, discard, destroy, or make the Republicans a minority party and they, the Conservatives will run our country as a religious dictatorship.

  • Just when I thought Kasich might be moderate republican because he seemed to understand addiction and mental health which are two of my areas of expertise, he goes and pulls another republican type rabbit out of his hat. He seemed to understand addiction because he is trying to rid Ohio of pill mills and he also seems to believe in treatment for mental health issues because of his comments made when he accepted the ACA money.

    But just like SB5, JobOhio, and his intention to privatize the state development department, Kasich is again watching out for his friends and trying to govern Ohio in secret.

    My belief is that standardized testing is a joke anyway and has no relevance to someone’s intellect or ability to be successful post graduation. Yet to allow one group to benefit because they can afford a private school is another way of punishing the middle class and poor. If our own elected officials think standardized testing is not a valuable learning tool for their children, why not get rid of it for all school children in the State of Ohio.

  • Think.

    Your last idea beautifully wraps up the issue with a big bow: If Ohio’s elected officials think high-stakes tests aren’t a valuable tool for their own children, then why are they required of our public school third graders?

  • DublinIrishBob

    Since Kasich is divorced, I’m not sure he is still a Roman Catholic. I’m sure his kids would attend a Catholic school if he still was and that his press agency, The Dispatch, would run stories about him attending Mass.

  • missskeptic

    And let’s hope Andy Brenner never reproduces.

  • teeky2

    Says a lot about what the elected officials in OH think of the average Joe and his kids, apparently not much! Kasich is following his ALEC agenda to a T. Wasn’t he one of the original founders of the ALEC, or was that his dad? Privatization for corporate profit from public tax dollars IS their agenda.

  • mrgavel

    It would be interesting to see what would happen with a equal protection lawsuit based on the idea that public school children are being discriminated against because they have to take tests that private school children don’t have to take. While I think that it would be a difficult lawsuit, it might work because the state would have to show a rational relationship between a legitimate state purpose and the discrimination.

  • Dawn Randall

    A colleague and I just advocated our hearts out against all this harmful testing after supersleuthing our way to Governor Kasich last Sunday. His response? “Tests? What’s wrong with tests? My kids had to take tests. There’s nothing wrong with tests.” These tests were NOT even in existence last spring, Governor! My students were one of the groups actually piloting them. I was told by an Ohio School Board member that she asked if the Board could take one of the tests to see what students would be going through (kudos to her) and she was told by the testing company that the Board could not see them until the Pilot came out. What the what?! The PARCC English Language Arts tests (several rounds) that my fifth-graders will have to sit through from February through May are, in my opinion, educationally harmful and are blatantly robbing them of valuable class time. I’m heartsick about what elementary children will have to go through. Why do some boys and girls get Testing Season and some get Learning Season? Why can’t ALL children be exempt from politics?! But, hey, Governor Kasich’s kids had to take tests.

  • Dawn Randall

    Just realized this article is from 11 months ago, but, wow, we’re sure seeing these laws coming at us now in full force this school year.

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