The Truth about ODE School Report Cards: Lakota and the Cincinnati Enquirer hold hands and kiss

Since my own personal Judas………Michael Clark of the Cincinnati Enquirer has written yet another apologist’s article in favor of public education it requires clarification of the matter at hand, which is the issue of school report cards issued by the Ohio Department of Education, where the highest grade possible is an Excellent with Distinction.  The article Clark wrote can be seen below as it was reported by the West Chester Buzz.

(Watch an interview I did with a Michigan radio station over this issue)

Based on that article, any intelligent skeptic would deduce that Superintendent Mantia of Lakota is indicating that she is going to let the rating of Lakota drop to just Excellent following what Mason has done recently.  Mason and Lakota have very similar demographics, but like Lakota have not passed a school levy for a number of years and have had to change out superintendents due to intense pressure from tax resistance groups.  Mason has a strong tax resistance group and now Lakota has two.  Yet Mason was lowered by the ODE to push voters into supporting a future school levy.  Little Miami was also punished by the ODE because of their multiple levy failures where Fairfield who just passed their levy last year was increased on their report card.  The ODE designation is purely a political scheme designed to increase taxes on property owners in favor of the radical union influence, and reporters like Michael Clark who have a personal stake in maintaining the status quo education system as it is, ignore the mechanisms of the scheme hoping that nobody notices. 

For the record I have for nearly two years now favored complete education reform with 100% School Choice in the State of Ohio and I want nothing to do with a teachers union.  Teachers should have a right to opt out of a union and until that discussion takes place, I am completely against the current education models that the Ohio Department of Education represents.  With that said, the report card system of the ODE is a foolish, corrupt, and out-dated system that favors political pull more than actual results and since reporters like Clark won’t do their job and uncover these types of stories because it might make their wives or reporting contacts angry, then I’ll gladly do the work in their place. 

I speak with school board members all over the state and am personal friends with several former school board members, and I will relay to you what they have relayed to me.  Schools all across the state sometimes win their ratings by destroying the tests of low scoring students. (proof below)  Superintendents make it their task to stay on good political terms with ODE personnel and staff so to keep the eyes of that board from looking too closely at the activity that actually produces the test results.  In schools like Lakota and Mason where the social demographics produce students who test better than schools like Princeton, CPS, or Lockland, there are more tests that must be excluded from the sampling and the risk of getting caught is much higher.  But superintendents have more or less in their power the ability to pass or fail their ratings at will. 

It should be noted that the superintendent of Little Miami stated that their testing suffered because of the 8 failed levies in previous years.  By saying such a thing he is declaring publicly that he failed in his job as superintendent, and politically he is playing the game of warning the public that if they don’t pass their school levies, their districts will also suffer a poor rating from the ODE.  Mason due to their finances need a levy in 2013 so they have been downgraded to attack the egos of the Mason residents with displaying a lack of school pride so that when their next levy is put on the ballot, the residents will pass it.  Lakota has a teacher’s contract that is up in 2014 and it will need a tax increase to pay for the bloated salaries of its employees when the pay freeze expires, so Mantia–the effervescent quarter million dollar politician–is planting the seeds for passing that levy by threatening to become downgraded as Mason was.

The Ohio Department of Education gladly puts on the blinders to this behavior, and they are very aware of what they are doing and why they are doing it.  They will of course publicly deny that such things are going on, but in the field of public education, it is the radical unions who run everything at every level, leaving the Ohio Department of Education members without any real teeth to hold any real authority.  Since most of the people working in education make extremely good money for maintaining the status quo, there is absolutely no desire to change anything, or question anything even when the red flags are glaringly obvious.  

Just to show that the ODE is doing their job they will occasionally pick a school to crack down on—to make a sacrificial victim of—and this year they focused on Southwestern Ohio because of all the levy resistance that has went on in the region—mostly by my personal friends and associates.  In fact, I am happy to report that we have tax resisters in almost every school district in these regions and yes—we all talk.  Recently the ODE targeted the lowly school district of Lockland for cheating on their test scores because the results were so obvious that nobody could claim to turn a blind eye away from the data.  Lockland is already on the verge of a major restructuring from the state, so there was no skin off the back of the ODE to crack down on them in order to show the public that the “system works” prompting the media to report the incident in a public relations campaign designed to attract the attention of the public while all the other schools in the region continue the same practice.  The ODE operates very similar to a traffic cop who tends to pull over red sports cars rather than family mini vans even though both are doing the same speed.  The driver of a red sports car is potential trouble to the status quo, so they usually get the ticket while the driver of a mini van is probably a responsible citizen who is just in a hurry trying to do their jobs in society, at least in the mind of such cops.  Lockland was the red sports car, Lakota I wouldn’t be surprised to learn, is the mini van.  Mantia in her political wisdom with the wink and a nod from the ODE may allow Lakota to become downgraded in 2013 so that the community will be incentivized to pass a levy by 2014 when the new teacher’s contract must be negotiated. 

For the proof of what has just been said here below is the article of Lockland getting caught by the ODE eliminating 36 low scoring students to improve their state score, just to prove that such activity goes on.  As school board vice-president of the Lakota school board, Julie Shaffer likes to say about me, that I “rant” when bringing such activity to public light, be it known that Lockland is simply a small fish and punishment by the ODE does little to affect the education culture that is so defective in Ohio.  Somehow I get the feeling that Shaffer won’t post this little bit of info on her Facebook page as she has other things that I’ve written here.   Enjoy those lattés ladies.

If my mood about education has become increasingly darker as time has went on it is because I have learned about the many tricks such as the one shown above that are embedded in the big business of public education and I have had to face the reality that the entire system must be completely scrapped and reformed.  100% School Choice is the only solution that I see as it is currently being used in countries like Sweden with great success, and is needed to break the terrible hold that teacher unions have on America’s public schools.  Until there are choices like “School Choice” there will continue to be corruption between superintendents, teacher unions, members of the Department of Education, the Ohio School Board Association, state legislators, trustees, even zoning officials who wrap themselves in such a tangled web that they can never hope to legitimately escape honestly. 

The sad reality of the entire report card situation is that it is all about job protection and money wrapped up in collective bargaining agreements that are sold on the backs of children.  And everyone who has participated in such a folly should be extremely ashamed of themselves.  In my first hand experience, the education culture from reporters like Clark all the way superintendents like Mantia is treacherously destructive to a beneficial society because they know better, yet put on the blinders for their own interests that I do not hesitate to describe.  I am as aghast at their behavior as anybody and believe me the proof stacks up high.  People just choose not to see it.  I do not wish to participate in their actions with my endorsement—or silence.  The report card evaluations from the Ohio Department of Education have only one purpose and that is to bring in more money in the form of taxes to the schools of their districts.  For districts that have shown they won’t pass their levies, the report card scores have been lowered, and for those who have passed their levies, the scores have increased taking into account a one year lag period, such as in the example of Little Miami.  And in the case of Lakota, the threat is that the district rating will be lowered as other areas of Lakota’s district show great promise such as the new Liberty Way shopping complex and the 2013 Homearama exhibition in Carriage Hill boosting the real estate world with an inflection of interest that neighboring communities will benefit from.  The politician Mantia is positioning herself for another levy run on the backs of these prideful events as some of those same real estate brokers whisper in her ear how best to proceed.  And you can bet that The Ohio Department of Education will work with her in every way possible to bring about the results they mutually desire—which is a preservation of an education monopoly that favors the teachers unions at the expense of the children and their parents. 

Rich Hoffman

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