Our public schools are under vicious attack – oddly, by the state representative elected from Delaware County. In two recent Dispatch columns, Rep. Andrew Brenner is quoted condemning public education as “socialism,” and advocating that all public schools be sold off to for-profit investors. He went on to state that Ohio should model this privatization on the example of the sale of government assets following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Brenner’s statements are both ridiculous and ignorant, and especially dangerous because he is empowered to make laws and policies concerning our children’s schools. Working their anti-school agenda, he and his Tea Party friends slashed over $1.8 billion from public school funding in 2013.
Brenner is wrong and mean-spirited. Rather than shutting down our public schools, I firmly believe that they need much greater funding and support from state government. I have two young children enrolled in public school, and just like every parent, I want the very best for them. Our children deserve the most excellent education that our society can afford. They deserve the most-qualified, talented, and dedicated teachers. They deserve safe and modern school buildings. They deserve every opportunity to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. Cutting state funding for public education destroys any hope for effective schools and severely limits our children’s future.
We already know what works. Experience demonstrates that school privatization is a failure. For-profit charter schools offer substandard instruction, only benefitting their owners’ incomes. On the other hand, the Olentangy and Delaware City Schools consistently prove that public education works. Both districts maintain the highest standards and consistently receive the highest ratings. Over the past two decades, Olentangy transformed from a small rural district into an exemplary modern school system, widely recognized as one of the best in the nation. Yet, Brenner clearly states that he wants to destroy our extraordinary Olentangy schools, selling off the buildings, firing all the teachers, and switching to only for-profit charter schools. Is that what’s best for our children? Obviously, Brenner doesn’t even care. He does care about and appreciate, however, the campaign money he receives from the for-profit charter school industry.
I am running to represent all the people of Delaware County in the 67th District of the Ohio House of Representatives – not just Democrats, but all our citizens, regardless of their party affiliation. Instead of Brenner’s extremist partisan Tea Party ideology, I will serve this county just using balanced common sense. I am running to improve life for all Ohioans, guaranteeing equal opportunity and rights for everyone living in our state. We must discard the destructive “politics of hate” spewed by Brenner, replacing it with a much more positive spirit of cooperation and progress. I invite you to join me in my quest.
David Hogan is a Professor of American History at Heidelberg College and a candidate for state representative. He will face off against Andrew Brenner in November.