The Kasich Files: a scandal-ridden, failing education system

Another installment examining John Kasich’s woeful record as Ohio Governor, in advance of the “reasonable” candidate’s appearance in Colchester on Saturday. 

Previously in this space, I wrote about the disgrace of John Kasich’s push for school choice in Ohio. Last summer, the state official in charge of school choice was forced to resign after submitting fraudulent statistics to the federal government — statistics designed to conceal the fact that charter schools weren’t working. The disgraced official “admitted scrubbing data on failing… charters to improve their standing.”

Bow Down Before Your Benevolent Overlord!

Bow Down Before Your Benevolent Overlord!

(By the way, the wife of that disgraced former official? She used to be Kasich’s chief of staff, and is now a top staffer in his presidential campaign.)

Well, there’s more bad news on Kasich’s sorry education record, courtesy of a Washington Post article entitled

The Education Mess in Ohio Under Gov. John Kasich

The Post ticks off a lengthy list of failures and cover-ups, including:

*a scandal-ridden charter school sector

*budget cuts for traditional public schools at the same time as increased funding for  charter schools and school vouchers

*controversial state takeovers of “failing” schools

*a questionable teacher evaluation system that uses as one factor the standardized test scores of students, against the recommendation of assessment experts

*the botched administration of the Common Core test known as PARCC (which the state later dropped).

The “state takeovers” ought to be of interest to Vermont Republicans, who are supposedly all het up over local control. Kasich is, in fact, one of many Republican governors who has abandoned “local control” in favor of state diktat when it comes to troubled districts.

His defenders claim that Kasich entered office facing an Augean Stables of a school system, and he’s been saddled with a thankless cleanup job. But the numbers belie that interpretation: since Kasich took office, Ohio’s place in Education Week’s respected quality rankings has tumbled from #5 in the nation in 2010, when Kasich was elected, to #23 in 2015.

Why the decline? EdWeek says it’s “indicative of flat education funding as well as a big achievement gap and the state’s troubled charter sector.”

“Troubled.” Such a quaint word for a fraudulent, expensive misuse of public money.

The charters’ poor performance has been underwritten by public school systems and local taxpayers, says the Post:

According to an August 2015 report by the progressive think tank Innovation Ohio, traditional public schools, which educate 90 percent of Ohio’s kids, are receiving $515 million less state funding than before Kasich took office.  Local school levies have been increasing as a result. Yet, Innovation Ohio said, funding for charter schools increased by 27 percent over that same five-year period — and charters wind up receiving more state money per pupil than traditional public schools through a complicated formula — even though Ohio’s charter sector is considered the most troubled in the country.

There is more in the Post article, which should be required reading for anyone tempted to swallow the propaganda being pumped out by the Kasich campaign and its eager slash desperate supporters.

And this is not to mention one of his signature failures — the effort to restrict collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, including teachers. He got his tame Legislature to pass it in 2011, but the law was shitcanned by statewide referendum later that year.

Which is yet another sign that John Kasich is not a reasonable candidate. He is not the “adult in the room.” He is simply one more cookie-cutter ultraconservative out to radically transform government in the preferred image of ALEC and the Koch brothers.

Anyone interested in preserving Vermont’s excellent public schools ought to resist the blandishments of in-state conservatives touting “choice” as the answer. And those who are proud of our school system might want to show up for the Kasich town hall, Saturday morning at 11 at the Colchester High School, and ask him some tough questions about his deplorable education record.

2 thoughts on “The Kasich Files: a scandal-ridden, failing education system

  1. Fred Crowley (town of Vershire)

    John, re: “…but the law was shitcanned by statewide referendum later that year.”
    I enjoy your opinion and I really like how you stay on top of things that are important to me. However your frequent scatological and other vulgar references add very little (in fact, you may be “knee-capping” yourself unnecessarily). When my children were growling up, I told them my main objection to such “peppering” of conversation was that it was just linguistic laziness. The English language is so rich and there are so many other ways to express one’s thoughts.

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      I appreciate your views, and I’m sorry if I offend.

      This blog is a labor of love, and one of its enjoyable aspects is the freedom I have to express myself as I like. Sometimes, when I’m writing about destructive political phenomena like ALEC’s suite of Republican governors, I have to throw off a little steam. And if there’s a message to my content, it’s this: The actions of the powerful are often more obscene/profane than any colorful language I employ. For example, Kasich’s attempted union-busting and Planned Parenthood defunding.

      And perhaps I flatter myself by thinking that I write in the spirit of blogs like Wonkette or publications like Spy, Frank (Canada) and Private Eye.


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