Making the Case – Service

Meeting with the Parma Board of Education, August 8.

Since early in this campaign, I have been emphasizing three themes: Commitment, Service, and Leadership. Yesterday I explained what I mean by Commitment, and today I’m writing about Service.

I believe in the power of people to get things done when they work together, and as a result I have worked in a wide variety of religious, musical, civic, educational, political, and professional organizations. Those experiences have taught me how to turn good intentions into concrete steps that can help get things accomplished, and some of those steps apply to the work of the State School Board.

State Board of Education District 11 includes 27 K-12 school districts. Over these past months I have reached out to all of them to introduce myself, both to open communications and to learn about them in order to represent them effectively.

Generally, they have welcomed this outreach, but they have also been a bit surprised to be getting this kind of attention. That’s because I offer a much higher expectation of the service to be provided by a State School Board member. I offer two main ways to raise the level of service, and both ways are grounded in my organizational experience.

  • First, I will provide a monthly report on actions of the State Board of Education. This simple step seems so basic to good representation that I am surprised that previous SBOE members haven’t done it. It’s what I did as a union representative, and it makes sense to do it as a State School Board member.
  • Second, upon taking office I will immediately begin scheduling community outreach sessions to meet with residents and learn their observations on how Ohio’s schools are serving Ohio’s kids. I’ve learned that you don’t get far sitting around waiting for people to come to you: you have to go to them.

My vision of Service is based on my experience of service to the community, the education profession, and my church. I look forward to providing a radically different level of service to the communities, educators, and families of District 11, for the good of Ohio’s kids.

Tomorrow, the third theme: Leadership.

This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education,

Making the Case – Commitment

State Board of Education considers the “cut score” for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee on October 18. By a 9-8 vote, the Board raised the score by two points for 2016-17.

The voters and residents of our district have my commitment to three critical issues in the campaign for the State Board of Education. I summarize them as Overtesting, Underfunding, and Privatizing.

Let’s review:

  • Overtesting: Parents, teachers, and community members ask more questions about this topic than the others combined. That’s not surprising, since this issue directly affects children. Quite simply, we are using too many tests, frequently the wrong tests, and we are using them for the wrong reasons. While the State Board of Education can’t end high-stakes testing, I am committed to holding the line on reasonable use of those tests, including the setting of “cut scores.”
  • Underfunding: More spending won’t solve all the problems of schools; but many of those problems are aggravated by Ohio’s unconstitutional¬† school funding system, which relies too heavily on local property taxes. While the State Board of Education doesn’t have authority over Ohio’s budget, I am committed to working with legislators of both parties to find a solution to this problem.
  • Privatizing: Ohio’s kids have a constitutional right to a “thorough and efficient system of common schools,” and school choice shouldn’t be used to dismantle that system. Ohio’s charter schools are protected in law, but I am committed to making sure that the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Ohio Department of Education do their jobs to make sure that charter schools are held accountable.

There’s more, of course. but these three examples make a good start in identifying my priorities. Commitment is the first of three themes that I have emphasized since early in this campaign. Coming up in these final days are the other themes: Service and Leadership.

This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education,

Making the Case: a Preview

Noel and Pat greet voters at the Cuyahoga Board of Elections for early voting on Sunday, October 30.

Elections vary, but in one way they’re all the same: every candidate has to make the case for why he or she should hold office.

From the beginning, this blog has provided a vehicle to talk about the issues that face education in Ohio today and my vision for how to address them.

As Election Day approaches, I plan to use these last few days of the campaign making the case for my candidacy. If you’re still reading these posts, you’ve probably already decided to support me; maybe you’ve already voted. But in these final days, you can still help move the needle by passing them along to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members.

I invite you to join me for these last few days, and consider sharing these upcoming posts as I make my case to represent District 11 on the State Board of Education.

This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education,

Call to Action

These past months have been about developing our capacity to win this election.

Now it’s time to use that capacity. In order to win on November 8, we need to be winning every day between now and then.
You can help with that by answering this call to action. Just go to the “Join us!” link on the left or click here to call up the Call to Action form. Then make your choices and submit the form. We’ll be back in touch with you with further instructions.

Continue reading “Call to Action”