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The Ohio blogger Plunderbund produces documents to show that Governor John Kasich and State Superintendent Richard Ross planned the takeover of the Youngstown City school district. Up until now, they claimed that they were responding to a request from Youngstown leaders to get involved. But Plunderbund says Kasich and Ross initiated the process, not Youngstown residents.
The plan involves having the state takeover after the school board resigns, the local superintendent resigns, and the union contracts are canceled. Then…we may speculate that the goal is to turn the district into an all-charter district, which would meet ALEC specifications. This kind of structural change doesn’t improve schools or education; it doesn’t reduce class sizes or provide more teachers of the arts, more libraries, or more resources for the schools that need them most. It is a fast-track to privatization. We still need to see a proof point to show that privatization has anything to do with improving education.
We know what good education is, and it is not produced by driving out experienced teachers and bringing in low-wage, inexperienced temps and new technology. For examples, look at the best public and private schools in Ohio or any other state. What do they value? Experienced teachers, small classes, the arts, well-maintained facilities, and a supportive community. Neither charters nor vouchers produces those conditions.
The irony of the Youngstown plan is that, as Stephen Dyer of Innovation Ohio showed with state data, the charter schools in Youngstown do not perform as well as the public schools that Governor Kasich wants to get rid of. If the state wants to improve test scores in Youngstown, it should close down those low-performing charter schools.