This is the story* of two third grade boys, Brady and Nick.  The two 8-year old boys are neighbors and best friends living in Columbus in a fairly typical north-side neighborhood.  As it so happens, the boys even share the same birthday — August 22, 2005 — and up until this year they attended the same school, Valley Forge Elementary, in the Columbus City School District.


At the end of last school year, Nick’s parents applied for and were granted an EdChoice voucher to send Nick to a private school.  They chose to use the taxpayer-funded voucher ($4,250) to enroll Nick in St. Anthony Catholic School located directly across the street from Valley Forge.


Fast forward to this Spring, when both boys will be taking Ohio’s 3rd Grade Reading Assessment.  Boys will be boys, and neither is the “best” student in their class (they both like to be considered class clowns), but they are typical students.  They struggle with maintaining their focus on the 2.5 hour long achievement test and end up scoring in the Basic level, each earning a score of 390 on the test, just slightly below the Proficient level.

This is where the paths of these two boys diverge:

  • Brady, because he is enrolled in the public school, discovers that his test result will cause him to be retained in the 3rd grade next year.
  • Nick, because he is enrolled in the private school, discovers that his test result is irrelevant and he’ll be promoted into 4th grade.

Both boys were required to take the same test — Brady because he’s in a public school and Nick because he’s using a taxpayer-funded EdChoice voucher — so why is Brady being retained and Nick being moved on?  It boils down to a difference of just a few hundred steps.

  • Use tax dollars to attend school at St. Anthony at 1300 Urban Drive and the tests mean nothing.
  • Use tax dollars to attend school at Valley Forge at 1321 Urban Drive and the tests mean everything.

When John Kasich and Ohio’s Republicans crafted the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, they omitted private schools from being required to follow the law, even when children in those schools are using publicly-funded EdChoice vouchers and are required to take the exact same state standardized tests as those in the public schools.

Simply one more way that Ohio’s Republicans are promoting the privatization of public services.

Today, the Columbus Dispatch finally questioned this obvious bias in the law, sharing details that we published back in December.  Bill Bush’s article is light on details, but does include a lot of finger-pointing by the people making and enforcing our education laws in Ohio.  

To read more details about why the law requires that Brady is retained while Nick is promoted, read our collection of articles on this topic:

  1. Ohio’s Private School Students Avoid The Third Grade Reading Guarantee
  2. Kasich’s Education Model Gives Private Schools Public Funds With No Accountability
  3. Kasich, GOP Legislators Write Laws That Exempt Their Own Kids From Standardized Testing


Remember In November.

*These boys are fictional, though the situation is very real and is happening all across Ohio right now.


    When are Ohioans going to wake up and vote this pompous ass out of office? Ready to campaign for Fitzgerald 24/7 to help make that happen!

  • carrieee4

    How stupid is the public. I don’t care how busy you are…how you have to work multiple jobs….how you are tired of hearing about these things. People need to wake up hear from both sides and then make an intelligent decision about why this is not the way we should be letting our elected officials handle our tax dollars and the way they are handling the future of our children. The future generations that will be working for and with us. Do you want a large group of people feeling that they are not worth as much as others because our gov. says if they do not go to private schools or the right schools they are not worth the same treatment?. Why should those who attend public schools be penalized? This is just a way to make people feel that they need to go the private route. When in fact it is not.This is such a sham. And I am ashamed to say I am from Ohio where our Governor Kasich believes that he needs to destroy public education and demean good teachers and teaching practices

  • jr6020

    Seems to me a lawsuit (and perhaps a class action one to boot) might be an option. Since Private and Public schools receive tax dollars there might be an equal protection issue here. Other suggestions welcomed…please share your ideas here…James, Cols

  • Think.

    It’s no wonder that public schools continue to be under attack. Powell State Rep. Andrew Brenner, vice chairman of the Ohio House Education Committee, says “public education in America is socialism.” Olentangy Schools must be so proud of his representation.
    Suggestion: VOTE OUT every ALEC legislator who chooses to put children in the crosshairs of their battle against public education.

  • Katietoo

    I agree, but ‘d feel more comfortable if Fitzgerald would address these issues directly. Is he going to work to end the 3rd GG? OTES? A-F grading? Sure, anything is better than Kasich, but we sure as heck don’t need a DFER governor either – think Cuomo.


    I actually recieved this article through a facebook post from Fitzgerald. So I am thinking he not pleased with this.

  • P. Miller

    And keep in kind the boys teachers will be evaluated differently because one teacher will have test scores attached to her name & evaluation and one won’t. Any guesses which teacher gets the test scores?????

  • wetsu

    I have wondered for some time why this folly hasn’t been challenged on those very grounds, jr6020.

  • wetsu

    A member of the group most responsible for heaping mess after mess upon public schools now laments the fact that there is a mess? Another example of how, in the absence of other targets, our elected officials create a great Satan for the public to focus attention toward, thus taking the focus off of themselves (where it rightfully should be).

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