Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Impact of Strickland's School Funding Plan

According to this Blade article Toledo Public Schools are likely to get another $2.8 million dollars from the state. Why? Because Gov. Ted Strickland's new education plan is targeted toward low property value school districts.

Is there anyone else out there who sees the serious inequity in this plan? Toledo Public Schools - which spends more per student than all but one other district in the county and has the worst test scores to show for it - is going to get more money. But a school system like Anthony Wayne (which has the second highest scores in the county) will see no additional funds from this plan?

The overall problem with the plan is that it focuses on dollars and property values, incorrectly assuming that areas with low property values are not funding schools to the same degree as areas with higher property values. The error in this assumption is readily recognizable in Toledo.

And then there's the whole issue of eliminating the vouchers...let's just force all the kids who've escaped from failing schools back into those failing schools - after all, it's more important to preserve the system than to focus on a good education for the child.

And, of course, we have our own Sen. Theresa Fedor quoted on WSPD 1370 AM saying that elimination of the vouchers is a good thing because so many failing charter schools have not been shut down. But this same philosophy of shutting down failing schools doesn't apply to a PUBLIC school - oh no...we're going to give those failing public schools more money!

Somehow, I think the focus of the new Strickland Education Plan is more about payback for support from the teachers' unions than it is a thoughtful way to address our educational problems... Besides, we all know it's easier to throw money at a problem than it is to actually solve the problem in the first place.

9 comments:

Progressive said...

I tend to agree with Strickland. Vouchers take away money from the state school fund - money that would otherwise be given to public schools. But you raise a great point... the way this money is being divided probably violates the Ohio constitution, which requires that the state provides an adequate education to everyone. This assumes that the state should primarily fund the public schools, not local property taxes. But when the state distinguishes its distribution based on what local property taxes are already covering, then this becomes a class issue. In the distribution aspect of this plan, I disagree with the governor.

The fact is, the governor should reduce the reliance of all school districts on local property taxes. His plan does not do this. His plan relies on the property taxes already in place, and in my view, this violates the Ohio constitution.

You raise another interesting point about Sen. Fedor comingling school vouchers and charter schools, where she seems to think one is related to the other. While I personally think both should be eliminated, school vouchers and charter schools are two entirely different programs. School vouchers, in my opinion, have a lot more merit than the failing charter schools we have. School vouchers give poor students the opportunity to attend good schools, where charter schools simply are not good schools (and charter schools are even worse than TPS if you can imagine, and have much lower test scores). In my opinion, the first step should be to eliminate charter schools, because they are completely worthless. If we are to eliminate the voucher program, which I support, then the state should adequately fund all public schools equally.

- Kurt

Progressive said...

Incidentally, the state's only duty under the constitution is to throw money at the problem, so long as it's equal.

Maggie Thurber said...

Kurt - we can agree to disagree on the issue of vouchers and charter schools...but I must ask...

If the constitution requires that the state provide an adequate education, why is funding an antiquated system the only option?

I'd suggest that 'providing an adequate education' can be interpreted in any number of ways and not just relative to state monies going to local school boards...Your thoughts?

-Sepp said...

Throwing money at the problem has pretty much wrecked everything...equally!

Keep in mind, Ted is a democrat and, every democratic party solution to society's problems has to somehow punish the successfull and reward the slackers. Certainly there are other ways to make the burden shared by all but, the dems are afraid to risk losing one vote in the name of fairness when the wealthy are such easy targets.

Lisa Renee said...

I'm glad you posted this Maggie, thank you!

Here's my problem with the elimination of the voucher program, it hurts children and parents now. I understand the agenda behind eliminating charter schools so that all children who cannot afford private schools must attend their local public school. Yet, the way to encourage parents to want to enroll their children into a public school is to make it better first. Forcing parents to have to place their children in a school they feel is substandard only increases the numbers that will flee to the suburbs. The voucher system enabled parents to have a choice, it kept parents in Toledo because they did not have to send their child to a school they did not want them to attend.

Eliminating the vouchers is not going to magically make schools that were voucher eligible in Toledo better. This to me is a totally backwards approach to what the driving issue is behind both charter schools and the voucher system. The driving issue is Parents wanting the best for their children and I don't see how this could be seen as a positive...

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

”The overall problem with the plan is that it focuses on dollars and property values, incorrectly assuming that areas with low property values are not funding schools to the same degree as areas with higher property values. The error in this assumption is readily recognizable in Toledo.”

There you go again, making sense and clouding the “good news” with facts ;-)


”And then there's the whole issue of eliminating the vouchers...let's just force all the kids who've escaped from failing schools back into those failing schools - after all, it's more important to preserve the system than to focus on a good education for the child.”

Actually, it’s more important to preserve the system that is failing miserably and reward all of those union votes/voters for voting for me (Gov. Strickland).


”And, of course, we have our own Sen. Theresa Fedor quoted on WSPD 1370 AM saying that elimination of the vouchers is a good thing because so many failing charter schools have not been shut down. But this same philosophy of shutting down failing schools doesn't apply to a PUBLIC school - oh no...we're going to give those failing public schools more money!”

Why, that’s right! Good little foot soldier that Theresa. . .


”Somehow, I think the focus of the new Strickland Education Plan is more about payback for support from the teachers' unions than it is a thoughtful way to address our educational problems... Besides, we all know it's easier to throw money at a problem than it is to actually solve the problem in the first place.”

I thought that I just said that ;-)

Looks like we’re both on the same page Maggie :-)

Hooda Thunkit said...

As long as I'm here, I pose this question to the other posters.

If the State is supposed to fund education by supplying education funds to each school child equally, where is the equal money for the mandated basic education for ALL of Ohio's students, regardless of which school they attend?

Granted that the State is forbidden to fund religious education and activities, I'm referring to the rest.

Seems to me that the children that would otherwise further burden the failing public school systems have a right to the same educational benefits as those attending the failing schools.

Progressive said...

Maggie, you asked if there was more to an "adequate education" than funding under the Ohio Constitution. First, let me just say that's a great question.

My personal opinion is that yes there is more to it than funding, but the DeRolph series of cases indicates that the Ohio Supreme Court views adequate education as equal opportunity. In other words, if the state provides the same amount of funding per student, then each student should have an equal shot at succeeding no matter where they are from. The state's duty is limited in that respect.

The thing about DeRolph is that it is more concerned with the disparity between suburban schools and rural schools. Urban schools weren't even considered in the equation. As we know, TPS spends more per pupil than most suburban schools. But in the same respect, DeRolph notes a significant disparity in per pupil spending in wealthier parts of the state versus less wealthy (particularly southeast Ohio and the Lima area). When DeRolph first came out, these schools were a disaster. Very out of date books, schools falling apart, asbestos, etc. That is clearly not providing an adequate education. In this respect, funding makes a difference.

When it comes to TPS, it's a completely different matter. I've always said that the problem is not TPS itself. The problem lies with the majority of parents who send their kids to TPS who simply don't care about their kids' education. For this reason, I don't support charter schools, and I don't support vouchers (though vouchers are much more valuable than charter schools in my opinion). These programs simply take more money away from the state fund, which is designed to fulfill the state's duty to provide an adequate public education for all. The thing about vouchers is that they discriminate between good students and bad students. Good students are eligible, bad students are not, because they are sent to good private schools, who can deny whomever they want. Charter schools take anyone because it is a cash cow. As a result, they get bad students and even worse teachers, cause no good teacher would reasonably turn down the benefits of teaching at a place like TPS when compared with teaching at a lower pay, lower benefit charter school. To me, it's a bad deal for everyone.

We should concentrate on improving the public schools we have, and the way to do that is to create a larger state fund for that purpose. Also, the supreme court wishes us to get away from relying on property taxes to pay for schools, and a larger state fund would help accomplish that. Additionally, perhaps some restructering could help. I've done extensive research on this issue, if you wish to read more, email me at progressivetoledo@gmail.com, and I'd be happy to send you some of my ideas (be forwarned, it's a long paper). This paper also includes all the Ohio education law you'll ever need, all the way back to the continental congress.

Ben said...

the plan is trash that uses creative budget numbers that Democrats always accuse Republicans of using (sometimes fairly)

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