Last week’s State Board of Education provided plenty of items worthy of comment. For this week, I’ll limit myself to one: the kickoff of ODE’s plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

ESSA is the long-awaited 2015 reauthorization of the fifty-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act first enacted under President Lyndon B. Johnson. ESSA replaces the idealistically-named (some would say “cynically misnamed”) No Child Left Behind Act, which was the 2001 reauthorization.

Almost everyone seems to agree that ESSA is an improvement over NCLB. Since ESSA gives more flexibility to states, Ohio’s response needs to be well-thought-out. And that process needs to start soon: while ESSA does not impact the 2015-16 school year at all, the 2016-17 school year will be a transition period, with full implementation of new state plans effective in the 2017-18 school year.

Some voices at the State Board expressed concern that ODE officials would work their bureaucratic magic to implement ESSA hastily without sufficient public comment. Officials at this week’s meeting attempted to allay those concerns. At Tuesday’s Board meeting, Interim State Superintendent Lonnie Rivera promised that voices from the field will make a difference–“These are the people we have to empower and listen to.”

You can assume that motivated and well-organized groups will be sure that their messages are heard, and we need to make sure that educators and public school supporters are among those. Those of us who care about the promise of public education can do this by taking three steps:

You can help this process by forwarding this message to interested friends and colleagues. My candidacy for State Board of Education District 11 isn’t about just winning the office; it’s about using it for Ohio’s kids.

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

Author: StgCoach

Retired teacher and public education leader. Pastoral musician, community activist, parliamentarian, and photographer.