By now the pattern is clear: When public schools in Ohio take a step forward, the Legislature kicks them two steps back.
The latest kick came Tuesday during a ridiculous frenzy of year-end activity. As they have for days, legislators acted like little kids throwing handfuls of tinsel at a Christmas tree, hoping some would stick and leaving the mess for someone else to clean up.
Both the House and Senate passed a bill that included an amendment - added just hours earlier at about midnight, with no public notice or debate - to broaden Ohio's school voucher program. Though the number of vouchers available would stay at 14,000, the number of public schools whose students could use vouchers to attend private schools grew to about 240 from 99.
Here's the kick: The change punishes schools that have finally escaped the worst academic classifications.
Currently, students can use vouchers if their school has been in academic watch or academic emergency for three consecutive years. If Gov. Bob Taft signs the bill passed Tuesday, students can go a private school - taking thousands of education dollars with them - if their school has been in academic watch or academic emergency for two of the past three years.
Timken High School is a perfect example, as Sen. Kirk Schuring of Jackson Township noted. Timken was in academic emergency in the 2003-04 school year and moved up to academic watch the next year and to continuous improvement last year. Where is Timken's reward for improving test scores and graduation rates? Don't waste your time looking. . . .
Thursday, December 21, 2006
More on Midnight Privatization Bill in Ohio