Education funding reform fails to fix adequacy

Published 9:48 am Friday, February 22, 2013

For more than 20 years two concepts have dominated the school-funding debate in Ohio: adequacy and equity.

Equity points to a distribution issue, the task of evening wide disparities among districts in the money directed to education. Adequacy concerns whether the funding is sufficient to ensure any student, anywhere in Ohio, has access to a competitive standard of education.

Perhaps the ultimate test for policymakers is to achieve a balance of equity and adequacy that meets the constitutional mandate for a thorough and efficient system of public schools. So far, that system of funding has proved elusive.

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John Kasich, the fourth governor to face the test, was confident he had the solution. But explanations by his policy team during a House Finance Committee hearing confirmed that adequacy is not a feature of the Kasich funding plan. Barbara Mattei-Smith, the assistant policy director for the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education, told the panel: “We are not attempting to define, or even propose that we can know, as a state, the correct spending amount that ensures every student in every district will receive just the right amount of teaching and learning for success upon leaving our elementary and secondary schools.”

That is a disappointing admission of failure, a failure to keep in view all that is required to build a world-class system of public schools, which the governor frequently and properly champions.

The adequacy issue is precisely the problem that earlier governors and legislatures aimed to address by identifying and costing out the essential components of the sort of teaching and learning that makes for success upon leaving school.

Akron Beacon Journal


Everyone agrees people need to keep more money

Some extra land was discovered Feb. 12 within the 3.79 million square miles of the United States. It was the common ground found during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

The president proposed raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9 an hour by 2016 and linking future increases to inflation.

Obama argued this could benefit employers.

“For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets,” he said during the speech.

His logic is this: Business owners would get a boost from the economic impact that would result from putting more money into the hands of more Americans.

This is the exact argument conservatives are making in regard to lowering tax rates. This is the common ground.

There’s another aspect to the president’s stance.

“Corporate profits have skyrocketed to an all-time high,” Obama said. “But it’s also true that for more than a decade, wages and incomes haven’t gone up at all.” …

So, we can agree that getting more money in the pockets of Americans would be good for the economy, not to mention the citizens. But how should that be accomplished? Get employers to raise wages? Or reduce tax rates? …

The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune