Those who want to abolish Academic Distress Commissions such as those in Lorain are right, but don’t provide a solution. We should also abolish the respective school boards, which have repeatedly proved incapable of educating children well for many years. In Lorain’s instance at least, it seems to be mostly not about the students, but about who gets a cut of the more than $14,000 a year per student. Check the contributors to the school board members, the contracts they receive, and the political ambitions of many school board members. Students would be better served if their parents were provided up to $14,000 to enroll them in any other school, public or private.
The list of troubled districts not yet in effective receivership include virtually every large city school district in Ohio other than Cleveland, which was separately reformed and has embraced charter schools in competition with traditional public schools, though the charters get thousands less per pupil to educate children, yet do as well and often better. Children and their parents would be far better served if we treated every child as an individual with different needs and enabled their ability to receive the best education suited for them, as determined by their parents and themselves, not a political operation that spends a good deal of time taking care of other constituents.
There is no doubt that most larger districts include a disproportionate share of those in poverty, who lack the financial, emotional, health and often family support that favors students in wealthier districts. However, condemning them to a system that has systematically failed them forever is hardly an answer. Many may not have resources to go to college for 4 years. Some need more time in school, some need more vocational education, some need greater health and nutrition support, and so on. Let them shop for what best fulfills their individual needs by providing vouchers for all who wish to opt that choice.
Free the children. Commissioners Lundy, Sweda and Kokoski, Sen. Manning, Reps. Manning, Miller, Stein and all politicians, end the Academic Distress Commissions the day after you abolish these school boards and one year after you’ve guaranteed real choice to every student by a true voucher system.