The “thorough and efficient” clause was written by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1850 and 1851 and adopted by the citizens of Ohio. Convention delegates intended the public common school SYSTEM to be the SYSTEM of choice. Delegate Archbold wanted to see a SYSTEM of schools “as perfect as could be devised.” (2 Debates, page 698) Delegate Quigley remarked, “The language of this section (thorough and efficient clause) is expressive of the liberality worthy of a great state and a great people. There is no stopping place here short of common school education to all the children of the state.” (2 Debates, page 14)
If the current system is not adequately serving all the students, the state has the constitutional responsibility to fix the SYSTEM-not farm out the students to non-system entities. The flaws of the SYSTEM must be addressed responsibly by state government. Policies that allow some students to escape the SYSTEM at public expense (while neglecting the SYSTEM) constitute malfeasance by government officials. If a school is perceived as failing to the point that some students should be permitted to escape, is it ethical/moral to leave any students behind?
More than 15 years ago the Ohio Supreme Court decreed the SYSTEM unconstitutional and admonished the state to fix the SYSTEM. The SYSTEM is still unconstitutional. A constitutional SYSTEM would be “as perfect as could be devised”, and would not need an escape route for students.
Part III coming soon…