Good and could get better: Terry Ryan’s testimony on the Kasich plan

Terry Ryan offered written testimony to the Ohio House Finance Primary and Secondary Education subcommittee today. Testifying in support of Governor Kasich’s Achievement Everywhere school reform plan, Terry outlined four reasons that the Buckeye State should support the Kasich plan (testimony can be downloaded here): Governor Kasich’s plan

  1. Calls for new investments in public schools. In fact, it seeks an increase in K-12 funding of nearly 10 percent over two years. This is generous in tough fiscal times.
  2. Recognizes the need for getting at, and reporting on, Academic Return on Investment (ROI).
  3. Promotes innovations and innovators through its Straight-A fund.
  4. Removes some of the shackles off educators. Specifically, under the proposed “Free to Advance” provisions some regulations will be lifted so districts and schools can make more effective use of state dollars.

In addition, Terry also offered five recommendations to improve the Kasich education plan:

  1. Get all dollars to follow kids to the schools they actually attend.
  2. Require annual Academic ROI reporting for all public school buildings in the state – district and charters. Just as some districts are more productive than others, so are some schools and these should be acknowledged and better understood.
  3. Further eliminate mandates – regulations, laws, contracts – that force funds to be spent in particular ways across all schools regardless of student characteristics.
  4. Rapidly move away from “hold harmless” provisions and guarantees that provide funding to districts for phantom students. An obvious downside to such policies is that they support schools losing students at the expense of those gaining students.
  5. Require annual student performance report cards for private schools that receive more than 30 percent of voucher bearing students.

In short, Terry argued that Governor Kasich’s education plan has much to like about it—it’s sensible and lives within the means of the state budget constraints. For these reasons, Fordham lends its support to the Kasich plan. And we hope that legislators will consider ways, some of which were suggested in testimony today, to further improve the Kasich plan and even better serve the kids of Ohio.

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