Columbus -- Former Gov. and current Democratic U.S. Sen. candidate Ted Strickland reiterated his opposition Aug. 16 to the way Ohio funds and monitors charter schools.
While acknowledging, "There are some good charter schools," Strickland said the public funding should not be directed to for-profit charters.
"Especially in Ohio, the charter school implementation has been scandalous," Strickland said. "Ohio has for-profit charter schools. Most states do not have for-profit charter schools where people can make money off of the education of our kids. I oppose for-profit charter schools."
He added, "I am not against all charter schools, but I'm certainly against Ohio has implemented and monitored and supervised charter schools/ Millions of dollars are being given to entities that are not educating our kids while using public tax dollars to enrich themselves."
Strickland offered the comments during a stop at a downtown Columbus school, where he outlined several of his education policy positions -- taking a few swipes at incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who he's challenging in November.
Strickland said Portman supported federal funding of Ohio's for-profit charters, accepted campaign contributions from those same charters and "voted to cut funding for public schools by $780 million in order to give taxpayer funded handouts to his rich and powerful friends."
Portman's campaign refuted the latter, however, saying Strickland is twisting the meaning of a budget resolution vote.
"As Ted Strickland points out, these supposed cuts are assumptions about a measure that actually contained no specific spending levels or cuts. It's a sorry attempt by Strickland to change the subject from his own failed record on education while governor," Portman campaign spokeswoman Michawn Rich said in a released statement.
She added that when Strickland, when he was governor, "cut funding for colleges and universities by $170 million, reversed his promise to freeze tuition and drove up costs for students and parents. Unlike Ted Strickland, Rob Portman has offered solutions to keep college affordable by increasing access to college credits for high school students, strengthening college savings accounts, lowering student loan rates and helping low-income students get a college degree."
During his Columbus stop Aug, 16, Strickland vowed to work to reduce high-stakes testing in schools, blaming the current testing environment on the federal government and the No Child Left Behind Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush nearly 15 years ago.
Strickland said he voiced his concern about that law before it was passed. He's hopeful that the Every Child Succeeds Act, which was finalized late last year to replace No Child Left Behind, will move schools away from an overemphasis on testing.
Portman also supports the Every Child Succeeds Act.
Strickland also said he would oppose efforts to fund charter school operators "at the expense of our public schools, our students and our teachers."
He added later, "I want every kid in Ohio, regardless of whether they're rich or poor or somewhere in between, to have the opportunity to get a good, high-quality public education that will prepare them for a successful life."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.