Opinion: What I’d like to see from Governor Kasich: Keep the focus on public schools

Carley Hull is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Carley Hull

The midterm elections finally came to a close on Tuesday, giving the Republicans the majority control over Ohio’s government. Like any political party, you have the good and the bad. Sometimes you have the completely horrific, i.e., the Tea Party.

No political party is perfect, especially with the bipartisan system we have in the U.S. that limits use to two seemingly “legitimate candidates.” Whether you voted red or voted blue, or decided to break the norm and vote Independent, Green or Libertarian, Ohio is still faced with another term with Governor John Kasich. 

While progressives and liberals can complain about the outcome, the reality is that Kasich will continue to be governor and continue his policies, many I believe for the worse. Instead those who are unhappy with the outcome should be vocal about challenging the Republican governor’s policies. I’d specifically like to see a better change and a better advocate for Ohio’s public schools.

Kasich’s two-year education plan introduced in 2013 appeared to be a step in the right direction to help public schools by advocating that his plan would increase funding to poor schools and decrease funding to higher income schools.

The problem with this plan:  providing a voucher program that provides private-school tuition and gives more funding to charter schools. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the program was set to provide $8.5 million for vouchers the first year and $17 million the next year to families earning an income of about $46,000 a year for a family of four.

The plan also gives charter schools (publicly funded schools that operate independently as an “alternative education” choice) about $35 million during the two-year plan (a 4.5 percent increase), according to Cleveland.com.

While this plan appears to give parents more choice of schools they can send their children, in the end, this will hurt public schools no matter what funding they still receive. If public schools are so bad that parents turn to charter or private schools, the state should get the hint that the public schools need more help, not fuel more money into alternatives that will take children and, consequently, funding from public schools.

To save the Ohio public schools, Kasich should put more priority on advocating programs and funding to bring public schools back to educational standards and less on the competitors.

I’d like to see this term’s focus on creating a good public school system that provides all children an equal education opportunity.