Why You Should Never Elect a Blind Ideologue as Governor

There's a story today in the Columbus Dispatch about one aspect of the new Kasich budget that's starting to shape up as a disaster — school funding. (Oh yes, there are plenty of other disasters in the making, never fear!)


"Kasich's Funding Plan Draws Complaints From School Leaders."

The story details how school districts feel they were bamboozled into believing the new plan would benefit them when it doesn't.

Yes, the story actually is in the Dispatch! That's how unfavorable the reaction to Kasich's plan is.

The reviews are in:

A week ago, Bob Caldwell was among more than a dozen school superintendents praising Gov. John Kasich’s education plan. ... But now, Caldwell and many other superintendents say they feel duped by Kasich. “We got told all the right things, but he didn’t follow through,” Caldwell said. “This is not what we were told.”


Roger Mace, superintendent of Gallipolis City Schools in southeastern Ohio, said, “Everyone in the room when he (Kasich) announced his budget was misled.”

And the head of the district where the DeRolph case, which declared the current school funding formula unconstitutional FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, isn't happy either.

“I was hesitantly optimistic when he rolled out the plan. But instead of closing the gap between poor and wealthy districts, it appears to be exacerbated,” said Tom Perkins, superintendent of Northern Local Schools in Perry County.

Kasich's response? He doesn't know the details of his own plan — and he doesn't care.

Kasich said he still had not seen any material detailing how much money each of Ohio’s 612 school districts would receive under his plan. “No, I don’t look at those because it’s the philosophy that matters,” Kasich said after a town-hall meeting with business professionals in Dayton to promote his tax proposals.

In other words, it's all about ideology, and damn the practical details and the real-world impact. Improving education for all Ohioans isn't a goal. Kasich says in the Dispatch article "We shouldn’t be in the business of funding buildings. We should be in the business of funding children, students, and that’s what this plan does.”

What that means is that the plan doesn't fund a public school system. It pretends that each student owns a packet of money — the per pupil cost of education. And rather than education money being consolidated for the most effective and economical results, it's pulled apart into individual packets — what I refer to as education welfare checks — to be "spent" in whatever school the student or his family "chooses."

This is not an effective or efficient way to improve education. But it is an effective and efficient way to dismantle public education and redirect funds to help better off families pay for private schools and poorer kids go to garbage for-profit charters that make Republican donors wealthier. It's robbing the neediest kids of any hope at a decent education, while forcing taxpayers to fund private interests. It's pure ideology, an ideology that says as much tax money as possible should be funneled into the pockets of the rich and damn the greater good.

Kasich said during the campaign that he wanted to make Ohio a test lab for conservative ideology — a set of ideas that had already proved a failure. We were warned. This is someone totally uninterested in the details of effective governance. In his statement that details don't matter, only philosophy, he's throwing the entire state of Ohio under his fabled bus.

Ohioans: listen up. The next time a candidate for office says he'll put political philosophy ahead of practical problem-solving and the welfare of the entire state, DO NOT VOTE FOR THAT CANDIDATE. I don't care what the philosophy is, whether it's a right-wing "take from the poor and give to the rich" one or a warm and fuzzy Green Party one.

Running a state is not about your personal political philosophy. It's about those details Kasich says he has no time for. This governor is worse than a failure. He's a debacle.

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