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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First Day Turmoil in Ohio Legislature?

I have to say that I was a bit surprised by the recent rhetoric of the leaders in the House and Senate regarding education.

In the Senate, where many of the most reasonable and practical legislators on the issue are genuinely working toward meaningful improvements, President Keith Faber went to his "education deregulation" card and talked about how more money isn't the answer to education. It's hard to square this "we'll cut money for you, but don't worry, we'll cut mandates so you won't complain too much" philosophy with the serious minds in that chamber.

Meanwhile, in the House, where members of the Education Committee actually want to eliminate the public education system, cut $5,000 checks to parents and let them send their kids where they can afford -- quality be damned -- Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (who infamously took a junket  to Turkey with the embattled Gulen affiliated schools) talked about trying to figure out how to improve the chances of all students' success.

For the last several years, the reasoned, practical and most thoughtful voices on education have resided in the Senate, while the more strident and damaging voices resided in the House (thanks in no small measure to the hatred of teacher unions and love for charter school operator David Brennan displayed by Speaker William Batchelder). It seems as if the current leaders in the two chambers, though, have very different visions from their rank and file.

Of course there is a huge caveat here: first-day legislative rhetorical rarely, if ever, turns into reality.
I just find it fascinating to see whose vision ends up ruling the day in the Ohio House and Senate. The pull and tug between leaders and members on this issue will be interesting to watch.

So stay tuned.