Brenner Is Reforming Education, Taking on Tough Issues with Principled Leadership
Rep. Brenner was appointed Chairman of the Ohio House Education & Career Readiness Committee in October of 2015. Since then, he has been not only chairing this committee, but also attending the Ohio State School Board meetings (ex officio member), the Education Information Management Systems Committee (which he chaired in 2017), and the Joint Education Oversight Committee (official member), as well as holding regular meetings with superintendents, teachers, school board members and parents throughout the state of Ohio. Education is not an easy topic, but Brenner has taken this challenging committee assignment and embraced it. He is so passionate about it that he is currently earning a Masters in Education in Teaching and Learning with an emphasis in Leadership and Policy.
Since Brenner became a state representative in 2011, he has led the way in education legislation. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- In 2015, Brenner was able to convince the House and Senate to include his Fair Funding Amendment in the budget. This would have tied the traditional school’s funding ceiling to the charter non-public reimbursement rate, providing growing school districts (that primarily fund their schools through their residents’ property taxes, receiving very little from the state per student) with more than double the amount in state reimbursement dollars than they currently receive. The governor line-item vetoed this language (see item 16 here). Fair Funding is needed because the state is redistributing money that, according to the funding formula, is supposed to go to growing districts (which also tend to be wealthier as compared to the districts that are shrinking). Instead, Ohio is counting students in districts such as Youngstown who have actually left the district, in essence over-funding failing schools while under-funding high performing, growing districts. This is absolutely unfair, and Brenner will continue to fight for the Fair Funding Amendment in the State Senate and with the next governor of the state of Ohio.
- Brenner believes in local control in education. He led the battle to unwind common core and the over-testing of Ohio’s students, and successfully implemented common sense testing changes to lighten the burden on students and schools.
- Public education is a right, and it is a civil rights issue as well. Failing schools continue the cycle of poverty for our state’s most vulnerable students. As a result, Brenner supports the right of parents to choose which school their child attends, and for the tax dollars to follow that student to the school of the parents’ choice. Parents want to help their children succeed, so we have to remove the the barriers and give every child in Ohio equal access to an excellent education.
- For students with dyslexia, Brenner has supported and passed the first dyslexia-related legislation in Ohio after a constituent brought the issue to his attention. Schools need the evidence-based practices available to them to help students with “dys-constellation” challenges.
- Since studies prove that children learn better when they write in cursive, Brenner has introduced and is moving through the Statehouse legislation that would provide a model for schools to keep cursive as part of the curriculum. Cursive was stripped out when common core was adopted in Ohio, but studies show cursive is a necessity for learning, especially for children with “dys-constellation” and other learning challenges. (HB 58)
Other candidates may have similar beliefs, but Brenner is the only Republican candidate in this race with an actual record of voting for legislation that supports public education, school choice, fair funding and child-centered policy. And, he doesn’t just vote for these bills; Brenner is a leader in the state of Ohio on education policy and reform.
School Funding and Education Reform
Twenty years out from the Derolph decision that Ohio’s school funding needed to be changed, no one has readily taken up this issue because it certainly is a heavy load and a controversial topic. However, Brenner introduced an expansive bill (HB 102) to begin the conversation to consider ways to change how schools are funded in order to meet Derolph and also provide equal access to public education for all students.
Brenner’s bill, without amendments, suggests the following:
- Fund all schools fairly
- Tax neutral policy
- Slash property taxes by 50% statewide
- Increase sale taxes — this will ensure that everyone pays for our schools, including those who currently do not directly pay property taxes
- Money follows the student
- Eliminate caps and guarantees — stop funding students that do not exist while taking away from districts that are growing
- No more “robbing Peter to pay Paul” in education funding
If this topic is important to you, feel free to call Rep. Brenner at 740-602-5033 (cell). This is a difficulty issue to fully articulate in a web post, but he would be happy to speak with you or schedule coffee to discuss it.