Governor John Kasich’s mid-biennium budget included a wide range of legislative initiatives, including a lot on education policy. Here’s our rundown of the key elements of that policy.
Many of Kasich’s proposals focused on greater efficiencies in local government, including sharing resources.
“When a school can share a treasurer between two school districts which has been largely unprecedented, it can mean a lot at the local level,” Kasich said Wednesday at a press conference.
Such as, some treasurers may be out of a job.
Kasich wants to increase the reading rates among elementary students. In fact he proposes holding back nearly all third graders from advancing to fourth grade if they don’t pass the state tests.
State lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to institute a similar policy for fourth graders about a decade ago. Kasich said that, this time around, schools will start testing children’s reading skills in kindergarten and give struggling readers extra help in the years leading up to third grade.
Kasich also used the occasion to reiterate his support for the Cleveland school district’s Transformation Plan which, among other things, would share local tax dollars with charter schools and base teacher retention on performance, not seniority.
Kasich says details of the bill are still being drafted but Cleveland needs more power to fix its schools.
Kasich even had a word of warning to lawmakers, saying “if they fail on this, frankly because of politics, the business community in Cleveland has indicated to me that they’re walking away” from supporting local schools.
“If they fail on this, frankly because of politics, the business community in Cleveland has indicated to me that they’re walking away” from supporting local schools.
–Ohio Gov. John Kasich
The Cleveland Transformation plan has been getting a lot of criticism from teachers unions around the state who call it a replay of Senate Bill 5.
Kasich announced other education policy changes today, but details were still scarce. Some of the other changes he mentioned would:
- Set rules to allow charter schools that enroll school dropouts to be closed for poor academic performance, something the state can’t do currently. Earlier attempts to get similar policies passed have not been successful.
- Create a new “A-F” grading system for Ohio’s public schools, as outlined in the state’s request to opt out of some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
- Form a new workforce development board within the governor’s office to better align workers’ skills with available jobs.
- Write new standards for how schools should separate “classroom” expenditures from other spending.
- Make changes to rules about who can sponsor, or oversee, a charter school.
- Require teacher prep programs to publicly report how well their graduates are doing in the classroom.
The capital budget proposal includes $400 million for higher education construction, renovation and maintenance projects and $675 million for the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
The policy changes Kasich discussed Wednesday will come out in a series of separate bills. A timeline for action on them is hazy. House Speaker Bill Batchelder told Gongwer News Service that “it’s unclear” whether or not any new laws will be enacted by this summer or whether it will take longer.