The liberal Democrats and their allies are making the full-court press for their school-funding scheme of unfunded mandates and more jobs for the teachers unions.The media is sure doing their part! A few samples...
My question is this: are the Republicans going to push back, or are they going to sit around and do nothing like usual?
Marietta Times: First Lady Frances Strickland touts Governor’s plan in Marietta
Marietta Times: Letter to editor praising House/Strickland plan
Ironton Tribune: Strickland touts model in South Point, Ohio
Urban Citizen: Ohio Senate slashes spending, schools plan
And we haven't even hit the "major" papers in the state where there is no shortage of news coverage on the disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over the governor's school funding plan...
Cleveland Plain Dealer: http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2009/04/gop_lawmakers_ask_ohio_supreme.html
Columbus Dispatch: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/04/29/edplan29.ART_ART_04-29-09_B1_06DMSMA.html?sid=101
Columbus Dispatch: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2009/05/ohio_senate_proposes_deep_cuts.html
Dayton Daily News: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohio-news/us-education-secretary-mum-on-stricklands-school-plan-113235.html
Republicans are having a tough time getting their message out on this one, but it is the right message. Here is Senate President Bill Harris (PDF):
Senators have worked to eliminate a number of costly mandates on local schools - some that exist in current law and many that were proposed as part of the Governor's "Evidence Based Model," which Senators have removed from the bill.This plan is so bad that even Arne Duncan, President Obama's Secretary of Education, won't endorse it. Did Duncan refused to endorse Strickland’s plan because it attacks school choice? Duncan has been quoted as saying “States will hurt their chance to compete for millions of federal stimulus dollars if they fail to embrace innovations like charter schools.” Ted Strickland’s budget guts funding for charter schools by 75 percent. Sounds like a pretty big failure to “embrace” the innovation of school choice.
"We are committed to working with the Governor and the House to make further reforms to improve the quality of education for all children; however, we have looked closely at the Evidence Based Model and believe it to be fundamentally flawed," President Harris said. "It focuses on school staffing needs rather than the needs of individual students, and provides less than circumstantial evidence that the benefit of the new mandates would outweigh the additional costs for local schools to meet them."
Harris noted that both in the Governor's original proposal and the House rewrite of the plan, many schools would receive less state funding over the next two years on the promise of more funding in the future. To date, no funding source has been identified that would allow them to make good on that promise. The Senate version provides state aid to schools using real, on-hand dollars, and distributes them on a per-pupil basis, thereby ensuring that community and e-school students will be treated the same as students in traditional public schools. In contrast, the Evidence Based Model would have decimated parental choice in education by providing significantly less funding to educate the more than 88,000 children in public charter schools.
T-Shirt Ted's plan is nearsighted, financially unsustainable and anti-choice. Republicans in both the House and Senate have asked for more evidence to validate his proposals, but the Senate rightly cut the plan from its version of the state budget, choosing instead to pass a balanced spending plan that puts fiscal responsibility ahead of political gimmicks.
Here is a primer on the substitute bill that the Senate has on the table:
UPDATE: OPEN says "Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland trying to rally support for education plan" and I love how they try and make it sound like Senate Republicans are EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVIL because they are opposing T-Shirt Ted.