February 9, 2007

Who Is Ted Strickland Kidding?

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:59 pm

SPECIAL UPDATE, 2PM: Oh, you won’t believe this (yeah, you will). The Strickland campaign site was taken down within an hour after this original post (home page is here so readers can verify). Coincidence?

Dearest Team Ted: The Turnaround Ohio docs readers of this post need to review so they can see for themselves what your guy promised vs. what your guy is delivering are here (Turnaround Ohio) and here (Learning for Life). They are, of course, preserved for fair use and discussion purposes only. Enjoy.

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This has to rank as one of the biggest Emily Litella “never minds” in state government history — in any state.

Ohioans who actually believed during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign that Ted Strickland might be proactively involved in solving the “school funding problem” have to be astounded at the governor’s latest statement on the subject.

Simply breathtaking (both the Gov’s position and the Dispatch’s cover-the-Gov’s-butt headline; HT RAB):

School-funding fix need not be rushed, Strickland contends

Although committed to fixing what he sees as an unconstitutional school-funding system in Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland said yesterday that it’s unreasonable to expect him to do it in his first budget, due next month.

In an interview, Strickland responded to suggestions made this week by House Speaker Jon A. Husted that the new governor would include his fix for school funding in the upcoming two-year budget.

“I think it may be a little disingenuous for anyone, including the speaker, to assume that less than a month after I assumed this office that I’m going to have a solution to this problem when it has plagued Ohio for more than 10 years,” Strickland said.

Holy moly. It’s as if Team Strickland didn’t devote a single brain wave to the issue of school funding during the entire gubernatorial campaign, the two-month post-victory period, or even the governor’s first few weeks in office.

With all due respect (rapidly approaching “very little”) what in the world ever happened to “Turnaround Ohio?”

Specifically (from the campaign web site; original was taken down within one hour of the appearance of this post; backup doc is here for fair use and discussion purposes if needed in the future now that it’s needed):

Turnaround Ohio: the Strickland/Fisher plan to create and keep jobs in Ohio by investing in Ohio’s strengths, such as energy production and entrepreneurship, while bringing us the jobs of the future by making sure that we have the most educated workforce possible.

In light of what the Governor has just said, why shouldn’t we think that Turnaround Ohio was a campaign slogan and not a thought-out “plan” that he intended to act on?

Here is info from the campaign’s “Learning for Life page” (original was taken down within one hour of the appearance of this post; backup doc is here):

To turnaround Ohio and give all Ohioans and their families an opportunity to better themselves, we must sharply increase the percentage of Ohioans who go on to complete college, certification or other training and make sure that high-quality jobs are awaiting them when they do so. We must change our entire attitude about the importance of lifelong learning. Ohioans must be able to access a fluid, continuous learning system – one that provides a seamless progression from early childhood through higher education and on, with each step in the progression equal in value. We must set high goals, raise aspirations and expectations and open the doors for every Ohioan to the learning environments that will challenge and prepare our next generation.

….. but not in this two-year budget? Haven’t those claiming inadequate funding for all these years been telling us that these wonderful things can’t be done until the alleged “funding problem” is fixed?

Here is coverage of one of my personal pet peeves, because it is a program with so much potential to save parents of college kids a ton of money:

6. Give high school students an opportunity to get a jump on college and other forms of postsecondary education. The final two years of high school are an important intersection between P-12 education and either postsecondary education or the world of work. Yet, for too many of our students — both those who are achieving at high levels and those who are struggling to find the relevance of going to school — these years are filled with detours and barriers that make the transition from high school to the rest of life a challenging if not debilitating experience.

I guess, among many other items, that can wait too. It would appear now that candidate Strickland, who campaigned on a goal of “Doubling Participation in (already existing) Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEOP, where high-school juniors and seniors attend college courses for college credit) is Governor Strickland, we won’t see anything done to expand PSEOP for two more academic years.

And get this …..

Turnaround Ohio specifically said what the new governor would do about school funding (didn’t Ted think anyone would scroll down that far after the election? Better question: Why didn’t Dispatch reporter Mark Niquette do this and hold the Governor’s feet to the fire?):

Ensure stable, secure funding for education.

For many years, Ohio has experienced an education funding crisis, both in K-12 education and in continued decline of state support for post-secondary education. A Strickland/Fisher Administration will bring all parties together to craft a new method of funding schools that is consistent with the demands of the Ohio Constitution. That’s what law-abiding governors and law-abiding states do. They accept their moral, ethical and public responsibility to do so to prepare our children for prosperous, successful lives in an ever-changing world.

It would appear that Governor Strickland is not exactly living up to candidate Strickland’s standards.

After going through “principles” of funding, Strickland/Fisher even got specific:

Funding for 1st Year: (note: NOT the third year — Ed.)

Below is the total we plan to invest in these proposals. We believe we can provide the $247.75 million in GRF (General Revenue — Ed.) funds from cost savings garnered from efficiencies gained elsewhere in state government, such as Medicaid. The additional $108 million we invest in the Knowledge Bank for low-income families can come from TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — Ed).
Investment in Knowledge Bank (for first year only—in subsequent years the cost decreases): $236 million from GRF and $108 million from TANF
Investment in Local College Access initiatives: $4.25 million
Investment in Cost of Early College High Schools: $1.5 million
Investment in Post Secondary Enrollment Options: $5 million
Investments in incentives to higher institutions to train teachers for hard-to-staff subjects and schools: $1 million

Total GRF: $247.75 million
Total TANF: $108 million

Geez, I didn’t even get to talk about what the “Knowledge Bank accounts” built into the funding “plan” above are. But based on Ted Strickland’s “never mind,” exactly why should anyone care?

Now it looks like the tax-and-spend addicts discussed at this post are the only ones with a plan. Maybe that’s what Governor Strickland REALLY wants.

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UPDATE, Feb. 11: Thespis Journal wonders why the Ohio Education Association has thus far been speechless. Good question — they had all of Friday to react. I’m afraid the answer is that they have endorsed the wallet-emptying, economy-killing School Funding Constitutional Amendment, so in their opinion anything Ted says is irrelevant.

In fact, there’s a February 8 update at OEA’s web site that is enough to make one “question the timing” of Governor Strickland’s abdication (the Dispatch link above is dated Feb. 8, which I believe means the Feb. 9 print edition):

A consortium of 12 statewide education groups dedicated to better education and fairer taxes for Ohioans today thanked the state Ballot Board for its ruling to keep intact Getting It Right for Ohio’s Future, a proposed constitutional amendment to implement a new school funding model. The amendment will now be returned to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann for certification. Click here for full story or click here http://www.rightforohio.org for Right for Ohio’s website.

Just a hunch — I personally think that the Governor is in reality okey-dokey with the ballot initiative, and will come out in support of it once it gets the required signatures (and it probably will). Like I just said: “Maybe that’s what Governor Strickland REALLY wants.”

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9 Comments

  1. Apparently, the Media only demands that Republicans follow through with promises and produce immediate results. It amazes me that anyone is surprised that Strickland has no real plan– this fact was repeated over-and-over during the campaign, but 60% of voters didn’t care– and that the Media is again (or still) protecting him from scrutiny.

    Comment by Joe C. — February 9, 2007 @ 6:34 pm

  2. #1, the OH media seems to be more at the ready to defend its faves than the national media, and there are many fewer, both in number and influence, who can and will challenge it.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 9, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

  3. Down the Memory Hole…

    But Internet Cache is forever….

    Trackback by The Boring Made Dull — February 9, 2007 @ 10:10 pm

  4. Tom,

    Glad you’re following his actions vs. his campaign rhetoric. I’m not sure I have the stomach to do it without screaming “told ya so.” Problem is this is not the worst we’ll see from him. Just wait.

    Comment by largebill — February 10, 2007 @ 10:56 am

  5. #4, I’m not meaning to follow it in detail. This one just slapped me upside the head and was so drop-dead obvious it couldn’t be ignored.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 10, 2007 @ 12:07 pm

  6. Great post Tom……yes, it is not a surprise at all what happened with their site.

    Comment by Ben Keeler — February 11, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  7. Yes, the OEA is sponsoring the constitutional amendment. However, OEA members were assured that Taxin’ Ted would “solve” all of our funding problems. His non-position should not sell with the OEa rank and file.

    Comment by Thespis — February 11, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

  8. Also,I meant to say that the amendment has such little chance of passing that Strickland should be obligated to propose something that actually might pass in the legislature and help Ohio’s public schools.

    Comment by Thespis — February 11, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

  9. #7 and #8 —

    This assumes OEA is paying much attention right now. I guess you’d know better than I about that. Of course, the Dispatch did its best in the headline and the writeup to make sure that it gets as little attention from the non-engaged as possible.

    I also believe that OEA et al believe that the amendment has a chance. If it can be sold like the minimum wage was, perhaps in combo with some other initiative we haven’t even heard about yet, who knows? It’s very early.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 11, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

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