NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 29, 2007

There's been some good education news of late, but then there's Ohio, where new Governor Ted Strickland has decided that one of his first priorities should be an assault on public and private school choice, says the Wall Street Journal.

As part of his first budget:

  • Strickland is proposing to abolish a two-year-old voucher program that provides a $5,000 tuition scholarship for up to 14,000 children who attend schools certified by the state to be in "academic emergency."
  • That can mean as many as one in three schools in some parts of the state, and in Columbus nearly one in two.
  • The program is new and was designed as a follow-on to the successful Cleveland voucher program.

The Governor is also proposing a moratorium on the creation of new charter schools in the state, saying charters have been "a dismal failure."  Strickland's other excuse for this assault on school choice for the poor is that the state needs to save money.  He is incorrect on both accounts, says the Journal:

  • A recent study by the Buckeye Institute found that students in Ohio charters performed better on six of nine academic measurements in math and reading than kids in traditional public schools.
  • In addition, the voucher program costs a mere $13 million out of a $53 billion state budget that includes big new spending increases on education and bonuses for the public-school bureaucracy.
  • The Columbus Dispatch reports that from 2001 to 2006, spending per pupil in Columbus schools rose to $11,918 from $9,078, which is higher per pupil spending than at charter schools.

Source: Editorial, "Job One in Ohio," Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2007.

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