How to make sense of Governor Kasich

Does John Kasich really have a plan? I’ve heard some pretty smart folks call him an idiot- and these are people who have to actually deal with him. Some have called him a mad man- as in mad – crazy. But maybe he’s taking his orders out of an uninspired book I read years ago- by a “Mad Man” as in Madison Avenue- Jean-Marie Dru’s Disruption: Overturning Conventions and Shaking Up the Marketplace (Adweek Magazine Series)

The premise was (from Amazon’s Review:

replacing business-as-usual advertising and marketing philosophies with radical new thinking. He contends that this shift in thought will better position new and established products, brands, and services for the competitive battles to come.

Kasich models himself as “not business as usual” kinda guy- even though he’s straight out of a business as usual business that was thinking totally upside down- the “investment banking” crew on Wall Street thought nothing of turning true common sense investment practices into a winner-take-all casino- where chutzpah was what separated the men from the boys.

So, without thinking about the long-term implications of things- we have passed some really crazy throw the baby out with the bath water laws like SB5, halfway through the voter photo ID rule and now- the idea of parents taking over failing schools:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich plans to tuck a “parent trigger” provision into his budget bill.

That would mean schools in the bottom 5 percent of the state’s performance index for three straight years would be eligible for a parent take over.

Ohio has 3,446 public schools serving 1.78 million students.

The California Teachers Association, a union representing 325,000 educators, has some advice for Ohio: deliberate carefully, consult with those who have dealt with the practical side of takeovers, make sure the process for takeovers is transparent and provide opportunities for open debate.

Parent Revolution, an organization that successfully lobbied for the law change last year in California, helped parents at McKinley Elementary in Compton petition for the take over.

The school district challenged the petition; the parents sued over the constitutionality of the district’s petition signature verification process; and the California State Board of Education has yet to finalize regulations, according to Parent Revolution spokeswoman Linda Serrato.

State Rep. John Patrick Carney, D-Columbus, said he is concerned about Ohio being used as a guinea pig.

“Really, in Compton, we don’t know what the result will be,” he said. Passionate parents may want to take over a school but may lack expertise on how to run it, Carney said on Wednesday.

via California only state with law allowing parents to take over schools.

With a cursory examination of this idea- I’ve got to wonder- what happens when the parents that take over the school- no longer have kids in the school? Keeping community groups engaged and working on something is easy when the initial outrage is there- but the long run is difficult. How is this really a solution? Or is it only another tool to Poke the Box (as Seth Godin calls his latest book) and elicit some kind of emotional response to force people to talk about a very real problem- schools that suck.

Again- Poke the Box is another guru book suggesting you might not actually have to make the change- just force the issue to the forefront. But the problem with this is in business things can change on a dime- in law, it’s almost set in stone- and hard to change.

Kasich may be brighter than we think- and actually opening some avenues for change with his prodding- the problem is his blind and loyal following in the State House- isn’t so bright. We generally elect affable people who aren’t exactly rocket scientists- otherwise we wouldn’t have had to go back to the ballot to change the State Constitution which they allowed to actually write in the exact locations of the Casinos for example.

The long term problems that this kind of disruptive strategy (if in fact it is a conscious strategy and not the rantings of an idiot savant) could be huge for Ohio- and that’s generally why laws are debated and discussed more than what we’ve seen (SB5 was passed very quickly and the government ID for voting even faster).

There are many who are being alienated by Kasich shown by his quick rise in disapproval ratings. Yet, smart thinkers are already planning to use these shakeups to experiment with some new ideas. For example, the idea of charter universities- may enable our current universities to do an end run around some of the accreditation policies that are making it incredibly difficult to hire is some tech fields- for instance the people who know the most about Social Media and web development don’t have masters or doctorates required to teach in Ohio- and aren’t interested in the low pay or slow pace of academia when they can be working in the field with no degree at all. Charter universities may be able to hire these people in teaching laboratories where they can teach and do at the same time.

If you start looking at John Kasich’s actions through the filter of Disruption or Poke the Box- it may help you to make sense out of what’s happening in Columbus. The question is- will it lead to a renaissance for Ohio or a Wall Street style house of cards that melts down and is rebuilt on the same bad foundation?

Time will tell.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!