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The broken promises of ECOT that threaten to cost Ohio taxpayers more than $80 million were never better exposed than by the comments of Sandy Theis on the Face The State television program Jan. 21.

Theis, Executive Director of ProgressOhio, told moderator Scott Light of Channel 10 that when the Republicans nearly two decades ago passed the charter school measure that created ECOT, they guaranteed that "less regulation and more competition" would provide "better schools with more accountability."

"Instead, the schools got worse," Theis, a statehouse newspaper reporter at the time, said.

Theis blamed much of the negative outcome on the subsequent elimination of the education watchdog agency.

She added that millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on the likes of the now apparently closed ECOT -- that so far owes the state upwards of $80 million and may owe way more than that in the final accounting.

Worst of all, Theis said, many children were hurt from receiving a deficient education.

Most charters have been money-sucking flops, draining the Ohio treasury of $1 billion a year. Ohio public officials, mostly Republicans, got big donations from ECOT-linked individuals to keep the gravy train rolling. The tax money would have been more productively spent on public schools.

Later in the broadcast (that can be viewed at, Theis correctly stated, "Children are too important to neglect. Public schools change lives. They are the great equalizer (in society)."

She noted that under Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, Ohio went to an evidence-based education system that raised Ohio schools' ranking from the 20s to 5th.

Under Gov. John Kasich and the Republicans, Ohio schools' ranking has fallen back to 22nd, said Theis.

Theis blew the other panelists away with her cogent commentary. If every Ohio voter would watch the broadcast and learn the facts, the Republicans would be out of power in 2019.

Tip: If you want to be in the know about Ohio politics, read Theis' weekly column at

Kasich Running Out Of Time As Irrelevancy Grows

Former governors quickly fade from the presidential politics scene. John Kasich is about to become a former governor and about to lose what is left of his standing to challenge Donald Trump for the presidential nomination in 2020.

He desperately tries to remain relevant by making lots of national TV appearances. The Dispatch reported that Kasich made more TV appearances last year than he made public appearances in Ohio.

The only way for Absent John to rejuvenate his relevance is to win the Ohio Senate seat currently held by Democrat Sherrod Brown.

Brown is a formidable campaigner who will leave no stone unturned in defending his job and winning a third term.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination. That leaves little-known millionaire businessman Mike Gibbons and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, a multimillionaire, to contend. Neither is ready for prime time.

Enter Kasich. If Ohio's estimable chief executive were to enter the primary, he would blow the other two away. If somehow, Kasich were to upset Brown, he would become a Republican hero, perhaps enabling the GOP to maintain its control of the Senate, and he would have a powerful 6-year-long perch from which to plot his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020.

Kasich has until the filing deadline of Feb. 7 to quest for the political trophy.

Otherwise, atrophy.


  • The Dispatch ran an article about the Chinese schoolboy covered in snow, but forgot to publish the picture.
  • The newspaper's editorial page is reading more and more like a chamber of commerce newsletter. That Columbus is getting more ice hockey rinks was the lead editorial one day. A salute to driven-from-office-by Indivisible-12-protesters U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi was another. In a third, women were encouraged to run for public office, but Oprah Winfrey was dissuaded from running for president. The capper was a delightfully self-serving editorial opposing a proposed tax on newsprint. Could the newspaper's opinions be any more sophomoric?
  • Oh, I forgot the weak brew editorial telling the state to "clean up" the "ECOT mess." It was too little and too late for the charter-loving Dispatch. The paper cannot bring itself to use the term "scandal" to describe the ECOT situation after wearing that word out in depicting the Columbus Public Schools' grade-changing debacle. Can you say double standard?
  • Finally, as the "chamber of commerce" attitude takes over the Dispatch editorial page, a delicious irony has been revealed. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is moving its headquarters to the former Dispatch location on South Third Street, across from the Statehouse.


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(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2018, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)



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