Wednesday, January 10, 2007

An Education Agenda for 2007, Pt. 1

As you can see from the fragment provided, one item* on my list of New Years resolutions is to reform Ohio’s system of funding public education. The chances of living up to this resolution are actually far better than for the rest simply because I will be but a small part of the effort

As frequent readers know, in addition to being a blogger and stay-at-home dad, I work as a part-time field organizing contractor for the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign. This coming year promises to be watershed for Ohio’s public education system, and therefore a busy one for me.

The Ballot Issue

The blogosphere has been buzzing about the effort to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to change the school funding system. Indeed, that effort is moving forward and I’ve been involved. I know much of the backstory that has been subject to speculation here and here and a whole lot here, and, unfortunately, also here. Unfortunately this is a delicate time for the effort and much of what I know I can't talk about just yet.

Here’s what I can tell you based on what’s in the public sphere. The effort has been going on since early 2006. It involves double-digit number of organizations representing every district, every stakeholder group. All the organizations involved are pro-public education, including the folks who litigated the DeRolph case. The process has run parallel to, but is not the same as, the effort of the mayor's group.

I can tell you with confidence that you won't agree with every single decision the coalition has made, but that is the nature of coalition work. Coalitions make compromises and a compromise, by definition, gives each party less than 100% of what they want.

I can tell you that if you trust my position on education you can trust this effort and if you don't trust my position on education, you probably won't like the final product but probably you don't like public education anyway.

Blogging this is going to be a little challenging, so I'm setting some ground rules:

  1. Understand that I get paid for my OFSC work, but I'm not invoicing my blog time. I don't speak for either OFSC or the Coalition here. If that changes, especially the pay thing, I'll let you know.
  2. At the same time, I have to respect my position. As such, I will be toeing the party line here. This is one instance where you won't be getting any warts-and-all critical analysis from me. It wouldn't be fair to my client to publicly disagree with the Coalition's position and it wouldn't be fair to my readers to pretend to be objectively analyzing the thing.
  3. As such, my updates on the effort will pretty much just be newsy: What's happening, what's new, how people can get involved.
  4. Please remember throughout all this that I do what I do because I believe in the cause, not for the money. Try to keep your "You just say that because you get paid" smack to a minimum. I don't get paid enough to say what I don't believe.
*And by the way, you won’t be hearing about the rest of my resolutions. Discussing resolutions necessarily involves discussing those parts of my life I’m less than happy about. One regrettable facet blogging politics is locking horns with people who can’t discern a difference between being an adversary and being an enemy. Such people will pounce on any perceived weakness, even one revealed in a moment of self-effacing frivolity. Yes, I’m looking at you, D[ave H]ickman. Much as I’d like to be one of those blogggers who publicly lays bare all his amusing foibles, it just doesn’t work if part of the audience refuses to take things in the spirit given and instead will use generously revealed imperfections as a weapon. If you find it regrettable that I won’t be sharing the softer, more neurotic side of Pho, blame the D’ickmans of the world.


Jill said...

Thank you, Scott. 57 million blogs worth of thank yous.