First, Blackwell introduces TEL as a constitutional amendment because it's been so popular in Colorado the voters have voted to freeze its effectiveness.
Now Blackwell wants to change Ohio's financial aid programs to be like Colorado. Unlike TEL, Blackwell's new financial aid platform is lacking in details, but given what is known about the Colorado plan, it should prove to be as popular as TEL was.
According to the Toledo Blade, Blackwell's proposal is to mimic a college voucher program recently enacted in Colorado. How does it work? Well, the Colorado system basically gives financial aid in the form of a voucher instead of giving the aid to the school. The recently graduating high school student could then use the voucher at any public or private school of higher education.
And how does this voucher help with the rising cost of college tuition? It doesn't.
"In fact, the tuition they pay will be the same. It doesn't make college less expensive; it is just a different funding mechanism," said Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor of the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, who supports the voucher.
And how has the program worked in Colorado? Well, thanks to Colorado's own version of TEL, tuition has continued to increase at the rate of 10 to 15% a year as state funding for universities has fallen roughly 12%. Meaning that Colorado students have had to pay more to get the same education. That's about the same result already occuring here in Ohio. So, the vouchers have no positive impact whatsoever on slowing the increasing costs of tuition.
So why would Blackwell support such an initative? Well in Colorado.....
Under the voucher program, schools would no longer be technically state funded, and could pursue enterprise status - freeing them from a wide variety of state regulations regarding hiring, firing, tuition, contracts, and more. Some say it will allow schools to operate more like a private business.
In other words, Blackwell wants the voucher programs to end collective bargaining, break up unions, end tenure, and prevent the legislature from setting caps on tuition increases.
There's a better way. And it's a proposal DESIGNED to provide actual assistance for families struggling with the increasing costs of higher education. It's Congressman Ted Strickland's plan for an Ohio Knowledge Bank.
If Ken Blackwell loves Colorado so much, maybe he should have run for Governor there.