Guess who recently announced his intention to run for Governor of the great State of Ohio?
Here are some important clues.
- He's a senator that represents a tragically failing district for public schools.
- He's raked in 10's of thousands of dollars in direct campaign contributions from the government run education lobby in Ohio over the last 7.5 years.
- On top of direct campaign contributions, he's a real "party" guy that's driven by 100's of thousands of more $'s donated by the same lobby. These contributions are then used by his party's "think tanks" to craft and peddle anti-charter school propaganda while helping to elect his political party peers to legislative and school board positions throughout the state.
- Instead of working to legislatively solve for real issues facing our schools, teachers and students like special needs education opportunity, graduate career/college readiness, bullying, chronic truancy and the drug epidemic, he's opted to spend his taxpayer-funded labor hours to double down and reintroduce his already dead, agenda-driven and totally unnecessary eschool attack bill (SB39)
- He has made bullying a public charter school, ECOT (The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow) a pillar of his relentless political rhetoric based primarily off 2 gross misrepresentations about the school.
- That the ODE (Ohio Department of Education) measure of 4 year on time graduation rate is somehow a fair representation of ECOT's performance even though this measure rewards schools for dropping kids out while disproportionately penalizing ECOT for accepting these students and helping them to graduate after they've fallen behind or been kicked to the curb elsewhere.
- That the ODE's preposterous attempt to change the attendance measurement rules for eschools and retroactively claw back funding is somehow justified even though the rule is so egregious that it effectively labels thousands of students who are putting in the work and succeeding at ECOT as truant when they clearly are not.
- Even though he's exerted an extreme amount of his time and effort to try to defund and destroy ECOT, he hasn't even spent one minute in class with any of ECOT's 15,000 current students, over 800 teachers or any of the 20,000 past ECOT graduates.
So who is this mystery man?
If you guessed Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), you nailed it.
If Senator Schiavoni were to somehow make his way to the Governor's mansion, it would certainly be great for his family and his political career... but at what cost to the rest of us? All clues certainly point to tragic outcomes and not only for the thousands of current ECOT families, teachers and staff but for the population of 125,000+ Ohio students who are increasingly choosing charter schools across Ohio.
Here's what Ron Adler, President of The Ohio Coalition for Quality Education, had to say in a March 8, 2017 release about the Senator's bid for Governor.
Candidate for Ohio Governor makes criticism of charter schools part of his campaign
"Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) recently announced that he is running for governor.
During his statement he said, "Our public education system is woefully underfunded. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans give hundreds of millions of dollars to failing charter schools and billions in income tax cuts to the very rich."
His negative comments about charter schools are both disappointing and quite a departure from his attitude before he rose to legislative leadership.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Senator Schiavoni when he visited several Youngstown charter schools in his district. He was always gracious and very complimentary of the work of charter schools.
But, we are glad that the senator wants to address areas of the public education system that are 'woefully' underfunded. That would be public charter schools ... and is certainly not the case with Youngstown City Schools. State records show that for FY/16 their Total Revenue Per Pupil was an 'eye popping' $26,412. Nearly four times the amount of per pupil funding for any public charter school in Ohio.
And as for failing schools, we encourage the senator to begin by looking in his own district. Youngstown City Schools have been in Ohio's Academic and Fiscal Emergency classification for years. That is neither fair to children or taxpayers.
There are many important issues that Senator Schiavoni could include in his campaign. But, attacking public charter schools that provide families with a superior educational option for their children should never become one of those issues. Nor should charter schools be used as fodder merely to advance a political campaign."
President, Ohio Coalition For Quality Education
What the Senator has shown through his words and actions is that he is playing politics with public education. He seems squarely focused on blind protectionism of the traditional institutional system at any cost or consequence to opportunity for Ohio's students.
School choice in public education is an issue that's of critical importance to my family and so many others. We're sick of being ignored, dismissed and mistreated by agenda-driven politicians. I think it's pretty clear that Senator Schiavoni has not earned my vote for Governor. What about yours?
ECOT is currently involved in a legal action with the Ohio Department of Education. The department is attempting to limit school choice by ripping funding away from ECOT and other eschools based on selective and retroactive enforcement of absurd attendance rules.
We need your help. Please Take Action Now to support school choice and ECOT in Ohio.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by authors and interviewees on ECOT PALS blogs are the author's and interviewees alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) or any other individual or group. Would you like your opinion or story to be published on the ECOT PALS blog? Please contact us to inquire.
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