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Democratic Ohio gubernatorial candidate calls on state leaders to offer voluntary summer school

 Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley

The Ohio Department of Education reports nearly 24% of Ohio’s schoolchildren were chronically absent during the 2020-2021 school year. So, it’s probably no surprise that the agency reports proficiency scores in key areas for that year dropped also. Former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, one of the Democratic candidates for governor, is calling on Gov. Mike DeWine and state leaders to offer summer school statewide this summer to help catch kids up.

Cranley says current state leaders should take action now to make sure all Ohio school kids have the opportunity to voluntarily attend summer school to make up for lost learning. “We need to help students who fall behind during the pandemic catch up and to do so quickly. I believe this is a moral imperative, and we have the money to do it,” Cranley says.

Cranley’s plan would use some of the $7 billion of federal pandemic money given to the state for education. He and others who back his plan note many teachers work extra jobs in the summer to make money and think there will be a lot of them who would want to get paid to teach during the summer instead.

Cranley’s running mate, State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), a teacher herself, says the summer school opportunity would allow teachers to focus on students to better meet their needs. “We want our summer school plan to empower those teachers by giving them the flexibility of bringing non-traditional approaches that foster creativity and the love of learning. We want teachers to teach," Fedor says.

Cranley wants Gov. Dewine and state leaders to make this change now so students can take advantage of this opportunity this summer but if they don’t, and if he is elected governor, he says he’d do it next summer.

The response to Cranley's plan

The governor's office says he's already provided funds for summer learning to help kids who lost learning because of the pandemic get caught up.

DeWine's spokesman, Dan Tierney, says Ohio schools will have access to $6.5 billion in relief funds of their own from the feds. DeWine has been encouraging local school boards to use these funds to focus on catching kids up that may have been adversely affected.

Kids in masks in Worthington Kilbourne High School
Dan Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Kids were in masks in Worthington Kilbourne High School when the district reopened for in-person learning in March 2021. All K-12 students and staff in the district are required to wear masks after a mandate went into effect August 25, a week after school started for the year.

Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Education announced school districts could take part in a grant program for summer school learning. It used $89 million of the federal relief funds.

And some state lawmakers want to do more. Republican Sen. Andrew Brenner, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said earlier this year that he'd like to see students receive college credit, an idea the state education department put into action last month.

Some school districts have come up with plans of their own to help students who lost academic ground during the pandemic. Some have provided one-on-one tutoring and/or summer school to meet the needs of kids who are struggling.

"Nan Whaley for Governor"
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Gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley

As for Cranley's Democratic opponent, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, she says she's also asked DeWine to take action on this issue. You can read her statement below.

 Statement from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley
Nan Whaley for Governor campaign
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Nan Whaley for Governor campaign
Statement from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley


Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.