The dust has finally settled on a long and contentious legislative
battle over education reform in Ohio. For the most part, Governor Ted
Strickland's plan prevailed; we were critics from the beginning and the muddy mess that is the final budget bill
proves our fears were warranted. When the budget's provisions take
effect (some immediately, some ten years down the road), Ohio's school
funding system will be little more than a laundry list of staffing and programmatic mandates; the state's academic content standards will reflect an unholy marriage
of core content with so-called 21st Century Skills; and the state's few
bright spots of successful urban education will have been cut off at the knees. (To be fair, the governor got at least a few things right, like reforming teacher tenure and retention policies.)
Ironically, what the governor calls "a comprehensive plan to build our
education system anew" doesn't fix the one problem he set out to solve
in the first place: making the state's school-funding system
"constitutional" (the state's Supreme Court has four times ruled against
it). State Senator Bill Seitz may have said it best: "He's created a
new, unfunded funding system. It's ironic as hell that a budget that
gives less funding to school than the last seven budgets is being cast
as a constitutional funding bill. That's funny. That's just funny."
We're not laughing.

"Strickland promotes ed reform here," by Ben Fischer, Cincinnati Enquirer, July 14, 2009

"Worse than usual," editorial, Columbus Dispatch, July 15, 2009

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