School leaders have so much education, experience, and knowledge to offer our lawmakers for the benefit of sound educational policy-making.
According to Bill Phillis, of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding: Governors and legislators should depend heavily on boards of education and their employees when formulating education policy. Prior to the last three decades, school personnel had substantial and consequential involvement in education policy formulation. Since the early 1990s in Ohio, governors and legislatures have depended more heavily on edicts from Washington, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), anti-public education think tanks and major foundations such as Gates and the Walton family for advice and direction in education policy development. Currently, ODE does not encourage local school leaders to frequent the Statehouse. https://publiceducationpartners.org/2016/11/07/importance-local-school-leaders-standing-together-education-policy-issues/
Many local school district superintendents have formed coalitions to address the problems caused by poorly-developed educational legislation. In November, Ohio school superintendents went to the Statehouse for a Public Education Rally, joined by a crowd of 400 other concerned citizens asking that educational leaders be involved in creating school policy. School superintendents need to be involved in the process, not just left to figure out how to comply. http://networkforpubliceducation.org/2016/11/the-day-the-supers-came-to-the-ohio-statehouse/
Re-engagement of local school district leaders is essential for the improvement of public education and for ending the encroachment of the privatization of public education. This rally was the first step to returning public policy regarding education back to the professionals who are on the front line of educating children on a daily basis. (Bill Phillis, Ohio E & A)
Imagine how helpful school superintendents could be if they were invited to collaborate with their elected leaders!
Ohio’s Greene County school superintendents recently met with their state legislators and recommended a list of logical solutions to problems facing Ohio public school districts. Their letter, printed below, is a forward-thinking approach that every organization of county superintendents should consider.
Please share this article with your local school superintendents and ask that they send a similar letter to your state representatives. The following text is an easy-to-use template that they can copy, paste, and personalize to get the process started:
Dear (Legislators’ Names):
Thank you for collaborating with the __________ County school superintendents by considering their input, concerns, and plausible solutions relative to public schooling.
Below, you will find our suggestions for improving education in the state of Ohio:
* Limit state testing. ESSA does not require as many tests as we have had in recent years. Ohio should lead the nation in reducing testing, not increasing it, and this aligns with the interest of parents.
* The new graduation requirements need to change. The _________ County superintendents suggest that graduation requirements be a local decision and should be established by each respective Board of Education.
* Eliminate the College Credit-Plus (CCP+) program. Focus on Advanced Placement (AP) classes which are much more rigorous, and allow for the Post-Secondary Educational Option (PSEO) to be reinstated.
* College and career opportunities to be defined more clearly and funded adequately to address the needs and goals of Ohio and based upon workforce requirements of each region.
* Reconsider Ohio’s return on for charter schools in the state and require the same video of accountability as the manager schools. We feel the use of public funds currently being offered to consistently unsuccessful charter schools could be better invested as a way to offer incentives finding success in so many of Ohio’s public school systems.
* Examine the state’s responsibility to the safe transportation of students. Funding for busing has nearly evaporated, yet the districts must absorb the rising costs of new bus purchases.
* Keep the teacher performance rubric side of OT ES as it is. Eliminate the student growth measure portion – the 50% based on either testing or student learning objectives is extremely inconsistent, statistically in accurate, and unreliable. Legislators should move to eliminate the 30% student growth measures from requirements for the teacher evaluation.
* Multiple studies and much research support the need for preschool and all day every day kindergarten for students. The state of Ohio should seek solutions to adequately fund this program in all school districts.
In closing, we recommend that our legislators consider this list and extensive list of unfunded mandate that face public schools in Ohio. This list is a small sample of challenges facing Ohio students, and we are happy to share additional input that would provide more information and for clarification. This is a defining time in the history of Ohio’s educational system. 0DE has a chance to be a leader again – instead of a compliance monitoring agency and we support that role.
Again, thank you for reading our thoughts and considering our suggestions. We look forward to enriching future discussions through continued effective communication with all of you.