Opinion: The war on teachers and public education (part one)


Ryan McCarthy is a senior English political science major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Ryan McCarthy

In the midst of the War on Christmas, where Thanksgiving seems to be losing, there is a very real allegorical war being waged against public education, which could have consequences we should actually care about. It has been clear since 2011’s Senate Bill 5 that Governor John Kasich has a disturbing distaste for teachers and other public workers. And with 65 of 99 seats in the Ohio House controlled by Republicans, and 23 of 33 seats controlled in the Senate, the only obstacle in his crusade against the public sector is the voters and our power of referendum.

Senate Bill 5, the legislation that would have devastated unions and labor rights of police officers, firefighters and teachers, was handily defeated through referendum by Ohio voters two years ago. Despite a resounding victory, this was merely the end of a battle, but the beginning of a war. SB5 was a clumsy attack, but John Kasich is not one to be underestimated, and has already put forth measures that are far craftier.

Throughout his re­election campaign, Kasich spared no expense to exploit “cuts” he made to our income taxes. To those not invested in politics, this might seem like a very good thing, however, when you eliminate the second highest source of state revenue, you need to make that up somewhere, whether it be making spending cuts or raising other taxes. They do both. Income tax, which is a progressive tax meant to put less of a burden on the lower class, is the primary source of funding for public education. Sales tax, which is a regressive tax that puts more burden on lower class families, is set to increase, rendering this tax “cut” a cut for those at the top, but in reality a shift for common Ohioans.

John Kasich has long been an advocate of privatization. From our prisons to our school system, his solution is charter schools, where he has been channeling non­transparent funds. In order to succeed, he is doing all that is possible to strip public schools of their funding, and devalue our teachers. He couldn’t succeed in going after police, firefighters and teachers together, but he can succeed if he’s more pragmatic by singling them out, which he will. Larger class sizes, teaching to the test, limited resources, and little incentive for good teachers to be teachers. For Kasich, the future of public education is no public education.