US: Ohio must stop funding school bureaucracy and put kids first |Opinion

Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on Aug. 14, 2022

  Full transcript of On this "Face the Nation" broadcast, Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Michael McCaul joined Margaret Brennan.Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation.

Greg R. Lawson is a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute.

As Ohio students head back to school, state policymakers must continue to provide families with the educational “school supplies” they need to help their children learn.

Ohio has struggled with long-standing achievement gaps for minority students, and the pandemic-induced school closures expanded learning loss across demographics during the past two school years. A recent Ohio State University study found that Ohio’s 2021 student test scores trailed scores from 2019.

Achievement gaps must close, and test scores must improve.

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Some solid education reforms were made during the pandemic, and that foundation gives Ohio policymakers something to build on.

The General Assembly, for example, amended Ohio’s Ed Choice, the state’s largest voucher program, to ensure that students may now keep the full value of their voucher even if their parents earn a few extra dollars.

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Legislators also established the $500 Afterschool Child Enrichment Program to help low- and middle-income families pay for additional educational services and intensive tutoring that have been shown to improve learning. And the General Assembly adopted a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $750 for any taxpayer who contributes to an approved scholarship granting organization.

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These important but rudimentary reforms should mark the beginning, not the end, of Ohio’s education reform effort.

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The Ohio Department of Education should enhance the Ohio Afterschool Child Enrichment Program marketing campaign so that more families are aware of the program and the $125 million of federal aid now available. Lower-income families need this money to help their children regain academic ground lost during the pandemic, but they won’t use it if they don’t know it’s there for them.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library has a Reading Buddies program which connects K-3 students with an adult buddy for one-on-one reading. Shirlee Doron, of Columbus, second from right, works with Justin Wooden, 8, of Westerville, far right, at the Karl Rd. branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library on Thursday, April 14, 2022. In the background, Andrea Danner of Columbus works with Brooklyn Staten, 8, of Columbus. © Fred Squillante/Columbus Dispatch The Columbus Metropolitan Library has a Reading Buddies program which connects K-3 students with an adult buddy for one-on-one reading. Shirlee Doron, of Columbus, second from right, works with Justin Wooden, 8, of Westerville, far right, at the Karl Rd. branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library on Thursday, April 14, 2022. In the background, Andrea Danner of Columbus works with Brooklyn Staten, 8, of Columbus.

A $750 scholarship tax credit was a good start and a nod to the fact that taxpayers deserve more say in who their tax dollars help. But a heftier tax credit is warranted and raising the maximum credit to $2,500 would give more taxpayers more incentive to support student scholarships.

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Finally, Ohio should put students before school districts. Rather than simply funding the education bureaucracy, the state should first be funding students and supporting their educational choices and academic needs.

As The Buckeye Institute has shown, creating state-funded, broad-based education savings accounts will allow families to customize learning tools for their children. Education savings accounts can be used to help pay for tuition, tutoring, supplementary curriculum, online courses, and other education services tailored to fit each student’s individual needs. Other states have already blazed this trail and adopted universal education savings accounts. Ohio should follow their lead.

As Ohio students head back to school, Ohio lawmakers should be getting back to work on meaningful education reforms for families.

Students need more than a back-to-school backpack. They need more academic options and financial support to make up the learning lost to the pandemic. This is one test Ohio policymakers cannot afford to fail.

Greg R. Lawson is a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio must stop funding school bureaucracy and put kids first |Opinion

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A school district in Missouri has announced it will reinstate spanking with a paddle in classrooms this school year. The Cassville School District board approved the policy change in June and recently notified parents. The disciplinary measure was previously banned by the 1,900-student Barry County district in 2001. Cassville Superintendent Merlyn Johnson said parents had expressed frustration that corporal punishment was no longer allowed. Parents have said, 'why can't you paddle my student?' and we're like 'We can't paddle your student, our policy does not support that, Merlyn Johnson, Cassville School District Superintendent. The new policy allows the use of corporal punishment but only as a “last resort.” The policy also requires written permission from the parents of the student and a witness to be present.

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