Over the past several months, Ted Strickland has attended event after event using education as his theme of choice.
Clearly, it’s a strategic maneuver designed to divert attention away from the Ohio job crisis and budget debacle.
The following statement from a Strickland fundraising letter this past May highlights what I believe will be, for now at least, the Governor’s re-election campaign theme:
I’m convinced that the key to growing our economy is making sure we have the best educated workforce in the nation.
This statement enables Strickland to do two things:
- Make education the focus.
- Infer he is addressing the job crisis.
I’ll address point two first. As I’ve stated several times before, no one denies that an educated workforce is essential to building a strong economy. But to make some sort of imagined education crisis his focus, it implies a poor education system was also the cause for Ohio’s massive job losses and labor force reduction.
Clearly, that’s not the case. If anything, Ohio’s 4th worst in the nation business climate ranking is far more detrimental to Ohio’s flailing economy than anything that is going on in Mrs. Frank’s 4th grade math class.
In addition, Ohio’s education system is far from in crisis, as highlighted here.
Now to point one…making education the focus.
Considering your record, is that really a good idea, Governor?
Let’s look at how you’ve funded education in the most recent budget:
- Early education: the bedrock of your Turnaround Ohio plan
This was a recent headline in the Columbus Dispatch:
- Adult Education: If education is the key to saving Ohio’s economy, naturally adult education and training would be essential to get unemployed Ohioans back into the workforce.
Except in the Governor’s most recent budget…
-Testing to get your GED is cut 29.5%.
-Adult literacy funding is zeroed out completely.
-Post-secondary adult-career technical education is cut 100%.
-Career-Technical Education Enhancements lose $742,000 in funding.
-Adult Basic Education has gone from being funded at $17,000,000 in 2008….to zero.
Obviously, adult education isn’t a priority.
- Overall Education Funding: Where the rubber meets the road.
So overall, what did Ted Strickland’s most recent budget do for education?
He cut it by 9.2%.
And yet, the Governor wants it to be the message of his entire campaign.
Now, the point of this post isn’t to say this budget cut or that budget cut wasn’t essential. It’s merely to point out the strange situation Ted Strickland has placed himself in for his upcoming re-election campaign. By making education his number one issue, he has positioned himself to be judged on a record that can be easily exploited.
And that’s not a good idea.