Kasich Wins Praise From Corporate Education Establishment

Nanny_state_trio_cartoonPolitics K-12, the Education Week blog, compared the remaining five presidential candidates on how well they have performed on implementing this list of education reforms:

  • Strongly back charter schools, and in some cases vouchers as well;
  • Think that accountability should present data-based information on schools in a fashion parents can easily grasp;
  • Believe that standardized tests are vital for gauging the performance and needs of students and schools;
  • Say the Common Core State Standards are a significant improvement over the previous mish-mash of states’ standards;
  • Distrust education labor unions in at least some key circumstances.

Obviously, this list is exactly the opposite of what many parents want, especially those that are fighting for academic quality, freedom of thought, educational freedom such as to choose to opt out, and data privacy for their children.  It is also why many presidential candidates are out of the race, including most prominently Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. Education Week, considered one of the top establishment education publications, is funded by Bill Gates, the world’s largest funder and proponent of Common Core. The blog then goes on to describe how well Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich fits those criteria:

  • Has expanded the number of voucher programs in the state and is a big believer in charter schools. In fact, the number of students in charters in the state has continued to rise. However, in response to corruption and performance issues plaguing the states’ charters, last year, Kasich signed into law a bill designed to address Ohio charters’ most significant woes.
  • Signed into law an accountability system that uses A-F grades to measure school performance;
  • That A-F accountability system, as well as the state’s teacher evaluations, use test scores as a significant component, and the state (albeit just for one year) administered the federally funded PARCC exam;
  • Despite heavy pressure in Ohio, and despite the sentiment among many GOP presidential primary voters, to do otherwise, Kasich has stood by the common core and the state has ultimately stuck with the standards;
  • In 2011, Kasich signed into law and supported a measure to strip teachers’ unions (and other unions) of most of their collective bargaining powers. Voters, however, ultimately gave the law the thumbs-down at the ballot box that same year.

The article then goes on to explain how strong Hillary Clinton is on these criteria, which makes her education philosophy quite similar to that of Kasich:

Back when she was Arkansas’ first lady, she participated in the push to improve content standards and supports the common core strongly. She has backed charter schools, even doing so in 2007 before a teachers’ union convention and getting jeered in the process. And she previously backed a bill in Congress to provide Teach for America, long a target for criticism from teachers’ unions, direct federal funding. On Monday, she told Newsday, a New York paper, that she wouldn’t opt her granddaughter out of the state’s common core exams, even as she called the state’s rollout of the standards “disastrous.”

The blog then notes that because Clinton has been more critical of charters and less in favor of using test scores for accountability during the 2016 campaign, ultimately, Kasich gets the highest rating for implementing and supporting the corporate/government/foundation agenda, including that of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education:

Among the candidates, then, it could be argued Kasich’s record and his campaign rhetoric best match the priorities laid out by various groups such as the Foundation for Excellence in Education [Jeb Bush’s group], StudentsFirst (which recently announced its merger with 50CAN, a like-minded organization in several respects), and others.

This great praise and support by the establishment is exactly why Kasich received an ‘F’ grade on the American Principles Project’s Common Core Report card and on many other reviews, why he has only won his home state of Ohio, and why his only path to the Republican nomination would be the unlikely scenario of leapfrogging over Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the top two contestants in the delegate count by far in the Republican contest. Supporting Common Core, calling parents who disagree hysterical, and diminishing student privacy are not the ways to win friends and influence people, especially parents.

Dr. Karen Effrem is trained as a pediatrician and serves as president of Education Liberty Watch and the executive director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition.