With a little over four score days before voters cast their ballot, former Gov. Ted Strickland drove home some key differences between him and Rob Portman, Ohio’s first-term Republican senator in Washington, at an event held in downtown Columbus Tuesday.
Gov. Strickland stressed his long-standing allegiance to public schools and public school teachers. He has been endorsed by the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
Launching what was called “Educators for Strickland,” the former congressman and governor contrasted his views on education with those of Sen. Portman. Going over familiar ground on his biography, Strickland, who said he’ll be with Hillary Clinton in Cleveland Wednesday, stressed three keys to what he did as governor and policies he would fight for in Washington if elected.
Mr. Strickland took pride in telling those in attendance today, including media, that during his administration [2006-2010], Ohio’s school system was among the nation’s best, rising from 27th to 5th best. During these years, Ohio earned the Frank Newman Award for educational state innovation. He stressed his opposition to high stakes testing but applauded empowering educators and ensuring local decision making as three top campaign promises.
“I have always believed deeply in the importance of public education, and in the Senate I look forward to continuing to serve as an unabashed champion for our schools, teachers and parents,” Strickland said in prepared remarks for the occasion.
Ohio Education Association president Becky Higgins was one of the educators present. She said Strickland has been a public school champion through out his political career and expects him to continue if elected to the Senate. “He always fought for Ohio’s working families and to ensure that every student has the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and those are exactly the values and principles we need in the Senate,” she added.
Responding to a question from Plunderbund about why he thinks David Hansen, husband of Gov. Kasich’s campaign manager and former chief of staff, has been allowed to vanish into thin air after he falsified for-profit charter school data at the state level, then used that data in a grant application that was subsequently awarded $71 million in federal funds, Mr. Strickland said he finds it curious that data scrubbing with Columbus Public Schools has received lots of attention, from reporters and law enforcement officials, compared to the scandal at the Ohio Department of Education that has received little if any attention.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, a Republican who has occupied the post for 20 years, went after officials at CPS in a big way. His selective enforcement has prompted others, especially his Democratic opponent this year, City Council President Zach Klein, to wonder what the difference is between the husband of the governor’s closest aid disappearing from public view compared to public school staff, who are mostly African-Americans, finding themselves in O’Briend’s cross hairs.