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FitzGerald Wants Freeze on Kasich's Third-Grade Reading Guarantee Exam

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Ohio’s Democratic Candidate for Governor is calling on Republican Gov. John Kasich to halt the third grade guarantee. And as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, he also wants more money for public education.

Friday, May 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald told members of the state’s largest teachers union that there are things state leaders need to do to help public education be successful in Ohio.

"A higher degree of state funding, a move away from failing charter schools and more accountability with charter schools, less of an emphasis on this high-stakes testing -- which is not going well and the writing is on the wall that it's going to continue, I think, to be very problematic," FitzGerald said.

In fact, FitzGerald thinks it will be so problematic that he’s calling on Kasich to put a moratorium on the third-grade reading guarantee, which would hold students back if they fail. He told the teachers union that idea is coming from its members.

"They don’t want to oppose the concept of saying that third graders should read at grade level," he said. " Everyone agrees with that. But it’s how do you roll it out? If you roll it out without the resources and the planning, then you're going to basically fall into this trap of high-stakes testing without providing the resources hat you need for people to actually succeed. What the governor is doing is he's underfunding education, and the substitute for that is just arbitrarily declaring unfunded mandates and policies, and just say we are going to have good schools because we said so. It’s not going to work."

Chris Schrimpf, the spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, responded to FitzGerald's remarks by saying Kasich is investing in public education.

"It is shocking the Ed FitzGerald does not want to ensure that every third grader knows how to read before advancing to the fourth grade," Schrimpf said. "Under Gov Kasich, education funding has increased by $1.3 billion -- and that’s an increase in funding that the Democrats opposed."

Schrimpf said FitzGerald talks a big game on education but has proven that he’s all talk.

"What you don’t hear from Ed FitzGerald is any sort of concrete plan of how he’d improve public education, and that’s probably because he doesn’t have one," Schrimpf said.

FitzGerald has the endorsement of the Ohio Education Association.

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