Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'll take "Words that will come back to haunt Ted Strickland" for $400, Alex.

What is "there are no dummies who are working here"?

Yep. That's how Ted Strickland defended his education plan yesterday in West Chester, Ohio.

Twitter came alive last night with this gem of a quote from the Governor. And, as we've become used to lately, it was another doozie.

As Strickland continues on the campaign trail........er, education tour across the state, one has to wonder how enormous of an education crisis Ohio must be suffering to require the Governor to spend so much time on the campaign trail. Crap. I mean, on his education tour. After all, the state must be in a world of hurt if he has made education far and away his top, and only, priority.

If you can't already tell....yes, I'm being sarcastic.

The fact is Ohio's students are, and historically have been, performing well above the national average.

How do we know? We look at the data. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. Assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, and writing. The NAEP tests students every two years in grades 4 and 8.

Going back to 2000, Ohio students have scored higher than the national average in each test and in both grades 4 & 8. Ohio ranks 13th, better than 37 other states, in its overall NAEP score.

Now this isn't meant to imply there aren't problems in Ohio's education system, funding or otherwise. Clearly, Ohio has room to improve. But this data empirically proves that there is not an education crisis in Ohio.

Who knew, right?

Now going back to Ted Strickland's "dummies" quote, and to be fair, the Governor almost has a point. It's important for Ohio to continue to cultivate its youth to be prepared for the best jobs Ohio can offer.

Key words being "best jobs Ohio can offer."

Problem is, there aren't any. That's the rub.

Any why is that? Well, take a look at this graphic that highlights the highest personal and corporate income tax rates in the nation.

There are three names that appear on both lists. New York, Oregon and......Ohio.

And of all the states on both of those lists, other than Michigan, Ohio has the worst Gross State Product Growth, Personal Income Growth, Personal Income Per Capita Growth, and Population Growth.

Think it's a coincidence that Ohio's unemployment rate has doubled during Ted Strickland's time as Governor?

You want a crisis, Governor? THAT is a crisis.

So from a political perspective, we can understand why Strickland continues his focus on education as he swings across the state on his campaign tour......crap, you know what I mean. Education is his only hope for re-election.

As we all know, every election with an incumbent is first and foremost a referendum on that incumbent. If the voter's focus continues to be jobs, Strickland loses. Because of that, we can expect Strickland to continue using the Office of Governor in an attempt to force the spirit of the campaign away from Ohio's real crisis and focus it on education. Also, expect special interests, aka the NEA, to go all-in as they work to divert voter interest onto the education debate.

Then, when none of that works, wait and watch as the campaign gets nasty. And it will get nasty.


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