Politicians Do Not Take Education Seriously

June 19, 2011

Ohio children had their highest scores on the graduation test since it was implemented in 2004. This is good. However, it doesn’t solve the age old problem of relying on property taxes for school funding. In addition, in order to fill budget shortfalls many states are cutting school funding. The nation and the State of Ohio are not fulfilling the legacy of a quality education that previous generations have enjoyed.

As The Economist wrote,

As it is, Americans already pay for public schools by virtue of where they live; schools are partly funded by property taxes. The richer the parents, the better the schools, or at least better resourced. That is a fundamental inequity of the American System, not a new one.

Still, their are those who may argue otherwise. Let me show you what goes on in Franklin County. Based on their report cards, schools can receive and extra $17 a student for having a score of excellent or excellent with distinction. Schools that are deemed to need continuous or are at best, effective, receive nothing.

Schools in Franklin County that received excellent with distinction were Westerville, Upper Arlington, Bexley, Dublin, Hilliard, and New Albany. Gahanna received a score of excellent. All will receive the supplemental money.

Columbus and Whitehall received needs continuous improvement while Reynoldsburg and Groveport were found to be effective. The rich get richer while the poor are left behind.

Moreover, many districts are cutting sports programs or charging a fee to participate in sports or other extra-curricular programs. Another trend that benefits richer districts.

The new Ohio budget will slash public education by 11%. Texas is looking at cuts of 6% for school funding. And a New Jersey judge said that 36% of the schools were not being funded per the state constitution.

Ohio had their own constitutional fight. In 1991 a group of school districts sued the state saying Ohio‘s school funding formulation was unconstitutional. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with them on March 24, 1997, May 11, 2000, September 6, 2001 and December 11, 2002. After that they gave up jurisdiction regarding the case. Therefore, the Republican controlled General Assembly simply ignored the court’s decisions.

Receiving an excellent education is the most important factor in competing in the global universe. However, the current Republican controlled General Assembly has more important issues on their mind like passing bills to allow patrons to carry concealed weapons into bars and permitting oil drilling on state lands.

As one who believes we are in a class war with rich versus the middle class and poor. It’s important to note our children are born with limitless possibilities whether rich or poor. It is only a broken educational system that makes ones life chances largely predetermined by whose womb they happen to be born out of. Until politicians take public education seriously, our children, our state, and our nation will suffer.

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The Madrigal Maniac

A Central Ohio Social Worker striving to bring justice to the City of Columbus and the State of Ohio through respectful conversation.

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