The Lima News
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has a tough sell as he attempts to ramp up Ohioís successful tuition voucher program. Itís a battle, however, worth fighting.
The program has proven so beneficial to students that Kasich wants to expand it, offering tuition vouchers up to $4,250 to any child entering kindergartner from a family with a household income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The academic performance of the public school doesnít matter under the new setup.
Thatís where Kasich faces a six-foot hurdle.
Public school administrators opposed to the expansion point out its inconsistency with the Republicanís earlier argument that vouchers were needed to provide parents an alternative to sending their children to a failing school.
Kasich doesnít deny or agree with that claim. Instead, he notes the status quo of public schools isnít good enough. Vouchers have always been about giving students the best education possible. The governor believes Ed Choice should be another option for parents seeking whatís best for their children. Itís also the key to providing the educated work force Ohio needs to attract future jobs. Thatís the point heíll be trying to sell to the legislature.
Other arguments by public school administrators are more easily disputed.
Public schools have also argued the voucher program is hurting them financially since the loss of students also means the loss of state aid. That can be as much as $5,000 per student of state money being turned over to cover the studentís private school tuition. To now allow virtually ďanyoneĒ to join the program would deplete public finances even further, they point out.
What these administrators fail to point out, however, is that private schools are educating students much cheaper than public schools Ė sometimes as much as $2,500 per student cheaper ó and arguably achieving better success.
The other often repeated attack on vouchers is that private schools are ďskimmingĒ only the best students from public schools, a claim that simply isnít true. There are no grade-point restrictions to receive a voucher.
Kasich points out those public schools are there to serve and educate students. If they are failing in that mission, parents have every right to find an educational setting that will get the job done. After all, it is their tax dollars ó not the stateís.