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John Kasich and Education: Five Facts to Know Before the New Hampshire Primary

By Alyson Klein — February 03, 2016 2 min read
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Okay, Iowa is over—on to the New Hampshire primary. And on the GOP side, Donald Trump, the real estate mogul, is expected to be the top vote-getter there, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders looks likely to win on the Democratic side, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in second place, at least based on polls a week out.

But, the runner-up in the GOP contest could matter going forward, particularly for voters looking for an alternative to Trump as the race heads into Super Tuesday on March 1.

And, as of this week, there were two candidates we haven’t profiled recently who seem to have a some shot at that second slot—Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is in second place in New Hampshire, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. They’re dark horses, to be sure, but you never know where presidential politics will go.

So it might be worth getting to know Kasich, a budget hawk who actually boosted education funding and still hearts the Common Core State Standards.

Here is what you need to know:

1. Kasich doesn’t want to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education, but he wants it be a lot smaller.

Kasich has said he’d like to consolidate roughly 100 programs in the department into four block grants. (He doesn’t say what they would be for.) The money would go to states and districts with few strings attached. “The department will be a research center and a local school booster, not a micromanager,” Kasich wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

2. Kasich has stuck by the Common Core State Standards.

He’s the only candidate other than Bush who still likes the common core, even as the standards have become a popular GOP punching bag. And so far, he hasn’t gotten a lot of grief from his

rivals for that stance, unlike Bush.

3. Kasich tried to strip teachers and other public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights.

Kasich signed a law that would get rid of these rights in 2011, but voters in the Buckeye State ended up rejecting the move at the ballot box later that same year. The pushback came in no small part from the Ohio Education Association.

4. Kasich increased education funding, even though he is a budget hawk.

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Kasich was pretty tight-fisted. Back in 1995, he moved a budget that cut education spending by $10 billion. But as governor of Ohio in 2013, he approved a $1.2 billion increase for K-12 over two years, part of which went to equalizing funding.

5. Kasich’s record on charters is mixed.

Ohio added some charter schools when Kasich was at the helm, from about 325 in 2011 to around 370. And Kasich has pushed for their expansion. But fans of high-quality charters might not cheer his stewardship. Students in Ohio charters lag behind their public school peers, a recent study found. And the FBI, as well as the state, have investigated Ohio’s charters.

BONUS: Kasich wants to get rid of teacher’s lounges. He sees them as essentially, the place where teachers go to complain.

Want more? Check out our pre-Iowa profiles of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, or real estate mogul Donald Trump and Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas on the GOP side.

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