This is the story* of two third grade boys, Brady and Nick. The two 8-year old boys are neighbors and best friends living in Columbus in a fairly typical north-side neighborhood. As it so happens, the boys even share the same birthday — August 22, 2005 — and up until this year they attended the same school, Valley Forge Elementary, in the Columbus City School District.
At the end of last school year, Nick’s parents applied for and were granted an EdChoice voucher to send Nick to a private school. They chose to use the taxpayer-funded voucher ($4,250) to enroll Nick in St. Anthony Catholic School located directly across the street from Valley Forge.
Fast forward to this Spring, when both boys will be taking Ohio’s 3rd Grade Reading Assessment. Boys will be boys, and neither is the “best” student in their class (they both like to be considered class clowns), but they are typical students. They struggle with maintaining their focus on the 2.5 hour long achievement test and end up scoring in the Basic level, each earning a score of 390 on the test, just slightly below the Proficient level.
This is where the paths of these two boys diverge:
- Brady, because he is enrolled in the public school, discovers that his test result will cause him to be retained in the 3rd grade next year.
- Nick, because he is enrolled in the private school, discovers that his test result is irrelevant and he’ll be promoted into 4th grade.
Both boys were required to take the same test — Brady because he’s in a public school and Nick because he’s using a taxpayer-funded EdChoice voucher — so why is Brady being retained and Nick being moved on? It boils down to a difference of just a few hundred steps.
- Use tax dollars to attend school at St. Anthony at 1300 Urban Drive and the tests mean nothing.
- Use tax dollars to attend school at Valley Forge at 1321 Urban Drive and the tests mean everything.
When John Kasich and Ohio’s Republicans crafted the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, they omitted private schools from being required to follow the law, even when children in those schools are using publicly-funded EdChoice vouchers and are required to take the exact same state standardized tests as those in the public schools.
Simply one more way that Ohio’s Republicans are promoting the privatization of public services.
Today, the Columbus Dispatch finally questioned this obvious bias in the law, sharing details that we published back in December. Bill Bush’s article is light on details, but does include a lot of finger-pointing by the people making and enforcing our education laws in Ohio.
To read more details about why the law requires that Brady is retained while Nick is promoted, read our collection of articles on this topic:
- Ohio’s Private School Students Avoid The Third Grade Reading Guarantee
- Kasich’s Education Model Gives Private Schools Public Funds With No Accountability
- Kasich, GOP Legislators Write Laws That Exempt Their Own Kids From Standardized Testing
Remember In November.
*These boys are fictional, though the situation is very real and is happening all across Ohio right now.