Terry Ryan offered written testimony to the Ohio House Finance Primary and Secondary Education subcommittee today. Testifying in support of Governor Kasich’s Achievement Everywhere school reform plan, Terry outlined four reasons that the Buckeye State should support the Kasich plan (testimony can be downloaded here): Governor Kasich’s plan
- Calls for new investments in public schools. In fact, it seeks an increase in K-12 funding of nearly 10 percent over two years. This is generous in tough fiscal times.
- Recognizes the need for getting at, and reporting on, Academic Return on Investment (ROI).
- Promotes innovations and innovators through its Straight-A fund.
- Removes some of the shackles off educators. Specifically, under the proposed “Free to Advance” provisions some regulations will be lifted so districts and schools can make more effective use of state dollars.
In addition, Terry also offered five recommendations to improve the Kasich education plan:
- Get all dollars to follow kids to the schools they actually attend.
- Require annual Academic ROI reporting for all public school buildings in the state – district and charters. Just as some districts are more productive than others, so are some schools and these should be acknowledged and better understood.
- Further eliminate mandates – regulations, laws, contracts – that force funds to be spent in particular ways across all schools regardless of student characteristics.
- Rapidly move away from “hold harmless” provisions and guarantees that provide funding to districts for phantom students. An obvious downside to such policies is that
Category: School Finance
When then-Governor Ted Strickland issued his Evidence-Based Model (EBM) of school funding reform in 2009 we engaged Professor Paul Hill to provide an analysis of the proposals. We couldn’t think of anyone better to do the work than Professor Hill. His credentials are impeccable. He is founder and recently retired director of the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, and a former Senior Fellow at Brookings and RAND. Further, Professor Hill has roots in Ohio as a graduate of Ohio State University. He also has family in Dayton.
Professor Hill’s analysis of Strickland’s plan was largely informed by the research project he led, Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools. That six-year effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted. It concluded that America’s public-school finance systems are burdened by rules and narrow policies that hold local officials accountable for compliance but not for results. Facing the Future was the work of more than 40 economists, lawyers, financial specialists, and education policy makers. It included more than 30 separate studies, including in-depth looks at Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington.
Based on findings and recommendations from Facing the Future we asked Professor Hill to develop a “crosswalk” between the key findings of that seminal report and the policy recommendations in the Strickland’s Plan. Professor Hill’s analysis of Governor Strickland’s
Lima, Ohio, recently named the nation’s ninth saddest city, received some cheer earlier this week when Governor John Kasich strode into town for his annual state of the state address. Among the myriad of topics the governor touched upon was K-12 education reform, and the residents of Lima—and many more across the Buckeye State—should be heartened by the education reforms he proposes.
Among the boldest and most exciting reforms the governor proposes, is his overhaul of the state’s school funding formula. The funding proposal the governor has laid forth levels the playing field for all Ohio students. It ensures that youngsters who attend a public school system with less local wealth—measured by property value and income—receive more state aid. For example, according to the governor’s preliminary FY 2014 estimates, the property and income-rich Upper Arlington schools near Columbus would receive no state aid for its regular students. (It would receive aid for its special education, economically disadvantaged, gifted, and English language learner students.) The state assumes, correctly, that Upper Arlington’s local residents can and will raise sufficient revenue to educate their children. This is sensible public finance—furnishing limited state funds to Upper Arlington is like giving Donald Trump social security. They simply don’t need it.
Meanwhile, the governor’s proposal provides generous state aid to students who reside in poorer, hard-scrabble communities such as Lima. Lima doesn’t have five-bedroom homes that generate large amounts of school tax revenue, and additionally,
At last week’s "virtual town hall" meeting to unveil his school funding and reform plan, Governor Kasich asked me to share what I thought was most exciting about his plan. I almost jumped out of my chair with excitement, and responded: “The Straight A Innovation Fund is incredibly exciting…You're going to be freeing people up, and I think there's a lot of untapped energy out in the field that's waiting to, in effect, take charge and take control of the opportunities.”
It was hard to believe that an Ohio governor was actually proposing to create an innovation fund and that it would distribute real money: $100 million in FY2014 and $200 million in FY2015. The idea of an innovation fund for reform in Ohio is something the Fordham Institute, Ohio Grantmakers Forum (OGF), and other reformers have been urging since at least 2008. For example, in the OGF report Beyond Tinkering: Creating Real Opportunities for Today’s Learners and for Generation of Ohioans to Come, issued in early 2009 and the result of months of input from philanthropy around the state, the first recommendation called for creating “Ohio Innovation Zones and an Incentive Fund.” Specifically, the report called for “an Incentive Fund to seed transformative educational innovation, support and scale up of successful educational enterprises, and build a strong culture to support these activities in local communities and throughout the state’s system of public education.”
Further, Beyond Tinkering argued that the purpose of the innovation fund should not be simply incenting new programs,