Introduced in late January by Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4), the School
Choice Act repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
and limits the Dept. of Education to being a distribution center of
block grants for school funding to the states.
The bill promotes
school choice and at this point provides no provision for special needs
children nor differentiates between secular and religious private
schools. Local education agencies’ job will then be to distribute the
block grants to public schools, parents who want to send their children
to private schools and to parents that home-school their children.
respect the right of parents to chose where they want their child to go
to school however I’ve always believed that public schools offers the
most value in obtaining an education,” said Allen County Educational
Service Center Superintendent Steve Arnold.
Arnold expressed a
“wait and see” attitude on how the bill evolves and whether the effect
would be positive or negative, “we just don’t know at this time,”
adding, “People making decisions on public education should have public
education experience in my opinion.”
Putnam County’s ESC
Superintendent Dr. Jan Osburn calls the School Choice Act a major
proposal that needs more details and discussion.
“Then we’ll see what happens,” Osburn said, noting that bills become better as they go through the legislative process.
is a strong supporter of equity and adequacy in school funding. And,
like his counterpart in Allen County Osburn champions public schools as
the best way to educate Ohio’s children.
“First and foremost, support for the public schools. We don’t mind competition but we want it to be a fair competition.”
added that Ohio’s constitution establishes the state’s responsibility
to provide education for it’s people noting there are 1.8 million
students in Ohio’s public schools. This provision was approved by voters
After four rulings by the Ohio Supreme Court, the court
handed the responsibility of school funding back to legislators but
lawmakers seem to not to have yet figured out fair and equitable
As for overlooking special needs children, both Arnold
and Osburn are on the same page, that Ohio will continue to support
educational opportunities for special needs children.
“The SC’s in
Ohio will do their best to see that continues,” Arnold said. And Osburn
said that there is concern for the children that have greater need than
Osburn said that “Charter schools, as a group, are not
public schools,” adding that scarce resources should stay close to
public schools. Charter schools spend more on overhead than education.
schools are a solid backbone in each of the communities in Northwest
Ohio,” Arnold said, “We need to keep public schools flourishing so that
our communities continue to flourish as well.”