“Fool Me Once…”
Same Maneuver, Same People, No Thank You!
The plight of Ohio’s public school system over the last 20 years is nothing short of tragic. And also, entirely predictable.
In fact, it was predicted!
But the folks in charge didn’t want to hear that prediction, so instead of acting, they dismantled the agency that was warning everyone about the risk.
The reckless diversion of millions of public school dollars into schemes and scams that destroyed the education of so many young people. Precious little transparency or oversight. And the rapid plunge of the nation’s 5th highest education system (in 2010) into the mid-20s.
All as predicted.
Specifically, the key moment that triggered the downward spiral came in 2005, when the then-Speaker of the House Jon Husted eliminated an agency called the Legislative Office of Education Oversight—whose role it had been to provide oversight of education, and these new, for-profit schools. The LOEO had recently issued warnings that these new for-profit companies (also known for handing out big campaign bucks) were fraught with risk—to students, and to taxpayers.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Including lots of donations and an honorary degree bestowed on Husted by a “virtual school” that turned out to be a scam.
So, yes, when I see LG Jon Husted now working ferociously to eliminate the independent oversight of the State School Board, at a time where that board has newly elected members eager to provide that fresh oversight of a struggling system, alarm bells are ringing loudly in my ears.
They should be in yours as well.
In the meantime, a state court that had already issued a TRO to stop the takeover of that school board’s powers pending a lawsuit just extended that TRO for several more weeks. The Court asked for a brief from Governor DeWine to explain how he hadn’t already violated the Court’s TRO when he disbanded the old Department of Education earlier this week, even with that TRO already in place.
Will keep you posted on that response.
Beyond more lawlessness, the last thing we need is the reckless and failed policies that have cost Ohio so dearly for 20 years now brought even further behind closed doors, and out of the hands of an independent body and badly needed checks and balances.