Ohio Public School Advocacy Network

40 More Superintendents Join Grass Roots Network

On March 3, the statewide grass roots initiative to restore local control of Ohio’s public schools officially expanded into northwest and west central Ohio.  In a news release sent to mass media outlets throughout the region, the Northwest/West Central Ohio Public School Advocacy Network announced its formation and will kick things off by conducting a public opinion survey of school district residents.  Below is what was reported in the news release:

Superintendents form advocacy group, launch public survey

Superintendents from nearly 40 school districts, career centers and educational service centers spanning 10-plus counties have formed a network to advocate for positive changes in public education that they believe will make for better schools.

The Northwest/West Central Ohio Public School Advocacy Network grew from concerns over a loss of local control in public education.  The group believes there are many areas within public education where if local control was restored, it would improve education and benefit schools and students.

The group believes that locally-controlled public education with governmental support is valued over public education dominated by government regulations.  School officials, board members, teachers, students and parents should have the most input about the direction of their own… Continue reading

Our Best Hope

In preparing for a discussion this week of America’s Schools at a Turning Point, I was reminded why superintendents are our best hope for creating a movement to restore local control of our nation’s public schools.  Here is what I wrote:  “One of the most serious problems now facing our country is that the vast majority of Americans no longer trust most our major institutions.  Fortunately, the American people still have faith in their local public schools.  In the 45th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools,” citizens reported that they are highly satisfied with their local schools.  Having worked with superintendents throughout my career, the public’s faith in their local schools is nearly always justified. I can state without hesitation that most superintendents are honest, dependable, and caring individuals.  Even more importantly, they have the best interest of their students and communities in mind.  They know how our schools are really doing, and they are ideally positioned to help lead a frank and open national grassroots discussion about the future of education reform.”  This is why the statewide movement being led by the Ohio Public School… Continue reading

In a Democracy

For the past 25 years, I’ve been an avid student of the work of the Kettering Foundation, a nonprofit think tank that studies problems of communities, governing, politics and education.  One report, in particular, continues to strongly influence my thinking.  It is “Meaningful Chaos – How People Form Relationships with Public Concerns.”  In the introduction to this study, Kettering Foundation President David Mathews makes a powerful statement that underscores the vital importance of providing Ohio’s citizens with a voice in shaping statewide education policy for our public schools.  He states:  “In a democracy, the public can’t just wait around to be persuaded.  Democracy is more than watching infomercials.  Rather than being passive, the public has to be active in making up its collective mind.  Why?  Because in our system, citizens have to give direction to the government; it is an undelegable responsibility. (A political system in which the government directs the people is not a democracy.)  And for the public’s direction to have legitimacy, it must be authentic; that is, it must really be the public’s opinion.  To be authentic or legitimate, public opinion has to be more… Continue reading

A Letter to the Residents of His School District

Scott Mangas, superintendent of the Ottoville Local Schools, recently sent a letter explaining the debacle of the charter school industry to all of the residents in his school district.  Here is what he wrote:

Public dollars being used for “For Profit Private Charter Schools in OHIO!”

I felt that our community needed to be informed of the disservice that state legislatures are provoking on tax payers.  Putnam County Schools have not been as impacted directly by the Charter movement, but we still feel the loss of millions of dollars which are going to charter schools instead of public schools.  Below is an article to inform the public.  Dennis Smith, a former ODE consultant in the charter school office, wrote it:

Our community is proud of its public schools.  We can proudly say that they are our schools.  Yes, we own and govern them through our friends and neighbors whom we elect to our community school board.  Yes, we are indeed proud of our school system as it represents and is the core of our community.

In Ohio, there is another kind of school type that we need to learn more about.  … Continue reading

23 Ohio Counties Represented

Superintendents from 23 counties have volunteered to serve on the leadership team of the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network.  The counties represented include: Adams, Allen, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Fayette, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Highland, Logan, Lorain, Medina, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Sandusky, Summit, Union and Warren.  The Ohio Public School Advocacy Network is being created by Ohio’s school superintendents to help lead a statewide grass roots initiative to restore local control of our public schools.

 

State Representative Reaches Out

Nraj Antani, Republican state representative from Ohio District 42, has recently reached out to Vandalia-Butler City Schools Superintendent Brad Neavin, his Board of Education, the City of Vandalia and Butler Township following the passage of a resolution to take back local control of their community.  In an historic demonstration of mutual support, the City of Vandalia on November 30 of last year passed a resolution “to call upon the state of Ohio to cease and desist from enacting laws and policies that further erode local control for municipalities, townships, and school districts.”  According to Brad, Representative Antani is a strong supporter of giving local authority back to local constituents and has suggested a meeting between folks in the region to hash out some of these local control issues.  Brad is one of the educational leaders who is helping to build the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network which is a grassroots effort to restore local control of the public schools in the Buckeye state.  

More Superintendents On Board

The Ohio Public School Advocacy Network continues to expand throughout the state as two more superintendents have come on board to support this growing grass roots initiative to restore local control of our public schools.  McComb Local Schools Superintendent Meri Skilliter will serve as the leadership representatives to OPSAN from Hancock County and Indian Lake Local Schools Superintendent Pat O’Donnell will be Logan County’s leadership connection to the statewide network.

Validity of State Report Card Questioned

The Ohio Public School Advocacy Network has taken another step in restoring local control of the public schools in our state.  In an open letter to their communities, the 15 superintendents in Lorain County have publicly questioned the validity of the upcoming school district report cards and are requesting that they not be issued.  In the news release to their local news outlets, here is what they said:

The Lorain County Cabinet of Superintendents has discussed the release of the 20-14 Ohio Report Card on numerous occasions.  As a group, we are requesting the 2015-16 SY Report Card not be issued primarily because of:

  1. PARCC assessment results and
  2. Student opt-out scores.

Reasoning:

  1. The PARCC assessment lacks validity, is age and culturally inappropriate, and ignored socio-economic effects.  The test data return date as a classroom assessment tool was of negligible use for the current school year, as well.  The validity of the PARCC test is not valid for these reasons.
  1. One of the most controversial issues administrators and staff endured was whether students could, would or should opt-out of taking the test.  Parents’ requests to opt-out of the test certainly affected… Continue reading


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