Dr. Glasner Addresses State Board of Education to Voice Concerns Over EdChoice Expansion

November 14, 2019—Today, Shaker Heights Schools Superintendent Dr. David Glasner addressed the State Board of Education in Columbus to voice concerns on the Ohio Department of Education’s flawed expansion of the EdChoice program. Dr. Glasner spoke on behalf of our District and many others who have been impacted by the voucher program’s expansion. You can read Dr. Glasner’s remarks here.

“We must change the EdChoice program so that it is more fair, so that it does not undermine or destroy public school districts and so that it makes more sense for students and families,” Dr. Glasner told the State Board.

EdChoice is an Ohio Department of Education program that provides students who attend public schools deemed in need of improvement with the opportunity to attend participating private schools. Just 18 months ago, only 30 Ohio school districts—five percent of the state’s total districts—had schools designated for EdChoice. A last-minute change to the state’s biennial budget bill, which was passed this past summer, expanded the program so that today, 423 school districts—70 percent of the school districts in Ohio—have schools designated for EdChoice.

In recent weeks, the District learned that that two of our elementary schools, Onaway and Woodbury, have been placed on the state’s EdChoice list by the Ohio Department of Education. They join Mercer, which was placed on the list last school year and remains there this year. This news was unexpected and upsetting, as the Ohio Department of Education had indicated to the District last school year that Mercer would no longer be in the EdChoice list this year.

“We share your anger, frustration and concern,” State Board of Education President Laura Kohler told Dr. Glasner. 

Meryl Johnson, the State School Board Representative for District 11 (which includes Shaker Heights) added, “Your story is very, very important and needs to be shared.”

“This needs to be fixed,” said Senator Peggy Lehner, chair of the Senate Education Committee.

“This expansion of EdChoice is unfair and disturbing,” Dr. Glasner said. “But we must advocate for change and persuade our lawmakers to revise the way the state evaluates our public schools.” Today, Dr. Glasner also proposed both short- and long-term changes to EdChoice that would mitigate the substantial financial impact some districts have experienced and limit how the state funds and awards EdChoice scholarships.

The District will share ways for our community to advocate for change in the weeks ahead.

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