Ohio GOP continues its targets on education


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Ohio state legislators have been actively introducing legislation that would make it harder for marginalized groups to live and succeed in Ohio. 

In the latest attack, Sen. Jerry C. Cirino (R-Kirtland) and his GOP colleagues bring Florida to Ohio with an extensive attack on higher education. 

According to its proponents, Senate Bill 83, or the Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act, is designed to “protect the integrity of Ohio’s institutions of higher learning.” However, the legislation is a pervasive list of do’s and don’ts for Ohio’s colleges and universities, which Sen. Cirino himself believes is a “course correction” from the “woke-based” education system. 

The Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act would ban universities from requiring student and staff diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training, even though DEI training is not a graduation requirement for any school in Ohio. 

Mr. Jarrod Mulheman, the director of student advancement at Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, believes that it’s beneficial to understand other people’s perspectives. 

“I get worried when we talk about banning discussions of diversity,” said Mr. Mulheman. “It’s healthy to have everyone look at different viewpoints even if you don’t agree, and we shouldn’t cut ourselves off from learning experiences.”

Instead of “pitting races against each other” like Sen. Cirino suggests, diversity training brings people together and allows them to learn about different cultures and life experiences. 

In addition, the bill adds “employees of any state institution of higher education” to the list of employees who aren’t allowed to strike. 

“There’s a national teacher shortage right now due to low pay and a high workload,” said CFHS AP Government teacher, Mrs. Corrine Lashley. “And although strikes aren’t super common, they’re a way for teachers to bargain for better benefits. Banning strikes could contribute to even more of a teacher shortage because they won’t be able to voice their concerns.”

Sen. Cirino believes strikes hurt students since they’re paying for a higher education, and that they should not “be used as pawns in union negotiations.” However, the no-strike clause in Senate Bill 83 would actually harm students as teachers may leave Ohio in search of better opportunities where they aren’t punished for requesting fair compensation. 

Sara Kilpatrick, the executive director of the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors, believes that strikes aren’t the fault of unions. “

“When a strike happens, that is a failure of management to bargain in good faith,” Kilpatrick told NPR. “That’s not the fault of the workers.”

Yet again, the so-called “hands off” party that is the GOP is infiltrating our education system, and it looks like they may succeed. Ohio has a republican trifecta as they control both chambers of the legislature and the executive branch. 

State Senators Jerry C. Cirino (R-Kirtland), Andrew O. Brenner (R-Delaware), Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), Rob McColley (R-Napoleon), Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula), Michele Reynolds (R- Canal Winchester), Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), and Michael A. Rulli (R-Salem) seem to care more about their personal agendas than the prosperity of Ohio’s students and teachers. 

The constant attack on teachers, administrators, and curriculum by the Republican party has not and will not benefit Ohio in any way. These right-wing legislators are actively threatening the future of our state by depriving students of a quality education.