We know in eduction, in parenting, and in life that important messages may be repeated 10-12 times before their are really heard by others. This blog is similar to a call for action earlier in the year, but the importance of this topic reguires a persistent message. Just like telling my 7 year old son Brennan to throw away his wrappers, I anticiapte "nagging" on this topic until Ohio Superintendent's sit alongside our State Board of Education and legislators to discuss education policy.
On Tuesday November 15, 2016, over 200 superintendents, board members, and administration gathered on the south lawn of the Statehouse. This collective group was not there in protest, spending their time to Blame, Complain, or Defend. We were present physically and emotionally as a sign of support, pledging our time and collective knowledge to bridge the gap between education policy and its impact on the students and communities in Ohio. Our voice was one of support, collaboration, and commitment to finding solutions that embody what is best for the students in Ohio.
5 superintendents from around the state spoke about 3 areas in which we have agreed need our attention and support. These areas are:
- The graduation cliff looming for current juniors around the state as a result of the newly set graduation points on end of course exams. Though Mechanicsburg numbers are much lower (less than 10% deemed at risk for not meeting graduation points next year), at risk numbers around the state are staggering.
- The ever changing and expanding accountability system in Ohio. Ohio superintendents welcome accountability and high standards for their districts. We are asking for measures that illustrate the successes and growth areas of their districts. However, the current system does not provide us that desired information.
- Over assessing our students,administering more state level assessments to Ohio students than required by ESSA. Again, Ohio superintendents are not asking to eliminate measures of student learning. We need and use standardized data, allowing us to benchmark our progress across the state and adjust to support student learning as needed. However, we don’t need to test every student every year to analyze data and make adjustments that support student growth and achievement.
This rally, a gathering of collective support, is just the beginning. For substantive change to take effect, we must come together and remain in action as a unit of dedicated district officials. In addition, the need to be at the table must be heard by our legislators and state board of education officials. This is where our work really begins. The rally is the starting point of our efforts to reach out to those charged with enacting legislation and policy. We all must step up and contact our local legislators and state board of education representatives. Offer them our support in discussing educational policy before it is enacted. Pledge to be a part of the solution and a collaborative partner in the legislative process. Commit to working proactively, with purposeful responses to guarantee the outcomes our state deserves.
Thank you for caring so passionately about the education of our students in Ohio and for using that emotion to foster positive responses and solution minded partnerships across the state!
If you live in Champaign County, you can contact the following people to show your support for the involvement of district leadership in closing the education policy gap.
Governor John Kasich
firstname.lastname@example.org (Press Secretary)
Keith Faber, President of the Ohio Senate
Andrew Brenner, House Chair of Education
Cliff Rosenberger, Speaker of the House
Keith Faber, District 12
A. Nino Vitale, House Representative District 85
Tom Gunlock, Appointed President of Ohio Board of Education
Paolo De Maria, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Ann E. Jacobs, Lima District 1 School Board Rep.
From around the state, access your state board of education representative at http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members ; State Senators at http://www.senate.state.oh.us/index# ; and House Representatives at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/
Your Partner in Education,
Danielle Prohaska, Superintendent
Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools