Blogger templates

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 12:57 PM No comments
Stephen Dyer Rebukes Fordham Institute for Twisting His Words—and the Law

Stephen Dyer is a former legislator in Ohio and a staunch advocate for public schools. He has punched holes in the claims of school choice advocates for years. Do you think someday the Ohio legislature might pay attention to the success of the 90% of kids in Ohio’s public schools and the expensive failure of charters and vouchers?

In this post, he takes issue with the Fordham Institute, which took issue with his critique of their proposal for another $150 million for vouchers. It is odd that Fordham would advocate for more money for vouchers, since they earlier funded a study showing that kids who took vouchers fell behind their peers in public schools.

Dyer writes:

After my several part series last week addressing the Fordham Institute’s unwarranted demand that taxpayers fork over another $150 million to fund school choice options that perform worse, lead to increased racial segregation and cost state taxpayers far more than public schools, Fordham went after just one portion of that critique — my suggestions for developing a voucher program that actually met their stated goal of “rescuing” kids from “failing” schools.

Notice they didn’t dispute my critiques, or my analysis of the amount of money their demands would cost. It was that I suggested that students taking vouchers should attend public schools for 180 days before taking one. Because a school can’t “fail” a kid unless they actually try to educate a kid, right?

Not according to Fordham. In fact, that suggestion was me “saying the quiet part out loud”, according to the article’s title.

However, I stole that suggestion from (drumroll please) … the original EdChoice voucher program. Here’s how the Ohio Legislative Service Commission described the then-new program in its analysis of House Bill 66 — the 2005 state budget bill in which EdChoice was created (my emphasis added):

The enacted budget establishes the new Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program, slated to begin in FY 2007. The program will provide scholarships to students who attend a school that has been in academic emergency for three or more consecutive years, including community school students who otherwise would attend school in those buildings. Students in grades K-8 who were enrolled in an eligible school the previous year may apply for an initial scholarship to attend a chartered nonpublic school.

So my suggestion, far from being the “the height of arrogance” Fordham claims, was actually the law until recently…

Finally, I have to address this new canard perpetrated by school choice advocates. The idea that public education advocates want to fund “systems” and choice advocates want to fund “students” — an argument I was making that truly “offended” her, apparently. Even though I never made that argument. I said throughout my critique that I wanted the money to go to kids in public schools, just as I did in this post. 

But whatever. Let’s talk about “systems”, shall we?

Fundamentally, it’s neither I nor my colleagues who call on the Ohio General Assembly to fund a system of public schools; it’s the Ohio Constitution, Article VI, Section 2.

“The General Assembly shall make such provisions, by taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state.”

Want more? Ok. Article VI, Section 3 is actually titled “Public school system, boards of education.” 

So it is the Ohio General Assembly’s constitutional duty to provide money for a public education system. If Fordham wants to change the Constitution, then they can have at it. But until they do, the only thing the Ohio Constitution requires the legislature to do is fund a public education system.

But Fordham knows this.

Open the link and read a brilliant takedown.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here


Post a Comment


Bookmark Us

Delicious Digg Facebook Favorites More Stumbleupon Twitter