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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kasich's Frankenstein Complex

In today's Columbus Dispatch, Gov. John Kasich came out attacking those who call his school funding plan "Robin Hood" -- a pretty clear response to sentiments captured in an Akron Beacon Journal story this morning.

He said that "we need more superintendents who are educators and fewer who are politicians."

What Kasich forgets is the reason Ohio superintendents have had to become politicians -- because more than 1/2 of school districts will have less state money in his current budget than they had six years ago.

That forces districts to ask for levy money. Levies are political campaigns. So, yes, superintendents have to be more political because they have to win elections every few years to provide the education their kids deserve and the state won't pay for.

Like Frankenstein, Kasich has declared war on a monster of his own creation. Unlike Frankenstein, he is in denial of his handiwork.

Noticeably absent from Kasich's anger is any mention of the real Ohio "educator politicians" -- poor performing charter school operators. This state has seen $1.7 billion going to two big campaign contributors (more than $6 million at last count) who run mostly failing charter schools -- one out of every four charter school dollars ever spent here.

I doubt superintendents have given even $10,000 total over the last 16 years to state politicians, let alone the $6 million plus that just two charter school operators have.

If Kasich wants superintendents to not think like politicians, he needs to provide state funding increases in more than 45% of school districts compared with 6 years ago, even though he has $20 billion more to spend.

If he did that, superintendents would have to worry less about passing levies and could actually be that which they trained to be -- educational leaders.