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Cordray's Education Plan Includes More Support For Student Services

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Ohio Public Radio
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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rich Cordray says Ohio's public school system is in decline compared with others nationwide. 

Cordray's plan to change that includes more accountability and support for student services. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.

Cordray says he wants to expand wraparound services for Ohio’s schools. This creates a range of support for students, from mental health services to dental care.

He says today’s students need to be connected to a network of care that he says will make them healthier and better equipped to learn.

“It means that the services will be provided right there at the school where we know the students are going to be, day in and day out, as opposed to the families bearing all the burdens of the logistics and the organization and the transportation and all to get those kinds of services. What often happens is the services falls through the cracks and the kids don’t get served,” says Cordray.

Cordray says Ohio is starting to lag behind the nation when it comes to education and something needs to change. The national report card from Education Week, an education news organization, once ranked Ohio as 5th in the nation. But its latest evaluation put the state at 21.

“We owe this decline in part to state lawmakers funneling resources away from our public schools, weakening our public schools. And overregulating the classroom in ways that make it harder for teachers to teach students in the ways they were trained to do,” he says.

Cordray, who's a former Ohio Attorney General, has made charter school accountability a top issue in his campaign. He’s consistently hit his Republican opponent Mike DeWine for his record on ECOT, the now-closed online charter school. ECOT overbilled the state for students it didn’t have, owing the state more than $80 million in return.

Cordray says DeWine, Ohio’s current attorney general, could have done more to keep the e-school accountable years ago.

“We have been failed dismally over the past eight years by a lack of accountability over failing charter schools in Ohio. For profit charter schools were responsible for one of the worst scandals in our state’s history," says Cordray.

His plan: to ban any for-profit companies from operating schools.

“Our schools are not businesses and our children are not customers but those involved in the ECOT scandal put profit above our students’ needs.”

DeWine has defended his actions on ECOT, explaining he's helping the state recover money by appointing special counsel to the case. He’s also recently filed civil action against ECOT founder and prominent GOP donor Bill Lager.

DeWine counters that Cordray had his chance to take on ECOT when his opponent was AG.

He says, “I’m the only one who’s actually in fact taken action on behalf of the state department of education.”

Cordray’s plan also includes funding transparency, a reversal of Ohio’s school takeover laws and reduced standardized tests.

“For too long Ohio’s schools have been obsessively focused on test scores rather than real education we are one of just 12 states, just 12 out of the 50 with high stakes testing requirements for high school graduation. Over testing, together with inadequate funding have narrowed school curriculum and narrowed many other meaningful ways to engage students,” says Cordray.

DeWine rolled out his education plan last week. He included an accountability measure for the online charter schools, saying the state should change its funding to a pay-for-performance model.

“What we need to demand from the people who are running these schools is accountability and accountability means they don’t get paid until we find out what that child has learned,” says DeWine.

Aside from also wanting less standardized testing, DeWine’s plan includes an emphasis on vocational training and expanding access to technology.

The Statehouse News Bureau was founded in 1980 to provide educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations. To this day, the Bureau remains the only broadcast outlet dedicated to in-depth coverage of state government news and topics of statewide interest. The Bureau is funded througheTech Ohio, and is managed by ideastream. The reporters at the Bureau follow the concerns of the citizens and voters of Ohio, as well as the actions of the Governor, the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Supreme Court, and other elected officials. We strive to cover statehouse news, government issues, Ohio politics, and concerns of business, culture and the arts with balance and fairness, and work to present diverse voices and points of view from the Statehouse and throughout Ohio. The three award-winning journalists at the bureau have more than 60 combined years of radio and television experience. They can be heard on National Public Radio and are regular contributors to Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace. Every weekday, the Statehouse News Bureau produces in-depth news reports forOhio's public radio stations. Those stories are also available on this website, either on the front page or in our archives. Weekly, the Statehouse News Bureau produces a television show from our studios in the Statehouse. The State of Ohio is an unique blend of news, interviews, talk and analysis, and is broadcast on Ohio's public television stations. The Statehouse News Bureau also produces special programming throughout the year, including the Governor's annual State of the State address to the Ohio General Assembly and a five-part year-end review.
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