The Ohio Department of Education made a big deal today of a report from the Education Commission of the States rating Ohio's new Report Card as one of the country's top 3. That's great news, I suppose. Here's the thing.
In 2010, Ohio won the nation's top award from ECS for the country's most "bold, innovation and nonpartisan" education reform of the year in 2009. Yet nowhere on the ODE website is there a mention of the state winning the top education reform of the year.
In fact, at the time the award was won, the Ohio Senate's Education Finance Chairman instead wrote a letter to ECS requesting that the organization take back the award:
Then State Sen. Gary Cates called the award "blatantly political", I suppose because it was awarded in 2010, which is a gubernatorial election year. I don't see any Democrats claiming the same of this ECS award during this gubernatorial year.
No matter. Here's now Senior Vice Chancellor Cates' email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write and ask him if he's willing to write a similar letter this year, casting aspersions upon ECS' motives in granting Ohio this award.
I would hate to think that ODE is ashamed that the state won a national award from the Education Commission of the States for education funding and policy reforms. Perhaps it's because the current leadership doesn't want anyone to remember that the Evidence Based Model of school funding, which was passed primarily by Democrats, even existed. Or that the last year of the model provided the first instance on record of the state providing more money for education than local property taxes.
Either way, it's pretty clear that the politicization of the Department is well entrenched.