Ohio schools must work with state government

Ohio school districts know there is plenty of room for improvement in their relationship with state government — as lawmakers continue to choose NOT to develop a constitutional school funding formula, for example. A new research paper presented by the Fordham Institute’s Director Aaron Churchill agrees, saying the state has not done enough for schools that are not performing up to standard, according to a report by The Dayton Daily News.

“We do think there’s a moral obligation for the state to step in,” Churchill told that newspaper. “Especially when schools are not doing well year after year.”

But one of the ways in which Churchill suggests the state should change might not be appealing to some of those in failing school districts. The Ohio Department of Education should implement consequences — including closing schools — if there is no improvement.

According to the Daily News, Churchill said the state has been too easy on those schools identified as low-performing; and he called that dangerous for students. A substandard education only sets up those kids for challenges in adulthood, and that is bad for them and the state as a whole.

Churchill’s report does suggest the state should provide more resources, including funding, for these schools (while also making public the amount each school receives and how that funding is used). But the bottom line is if we are to do right by Buckeye State children, lawmakers and bureaucrats had better come up with a fair and constitutional funding formula, distribute that money transparently, hold schools to the highest possible standard and hand out honest assessments that yield consequences if schools are not giving kids what they need.

Meanwhile, those same lawmakers and a different set of bureaucrats had also better be honest about the socio-cultural challenges that are holding back too many students in a way no school can overcome. If we truly care about children, as so many of these same folks in Columbus claim they do, there can be no option but to pursue both of those goals with every tool available.



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