Labor Day Observations

Between two festivals and a parade, we probably interacted with more people in this one weekend than in the months preceding it.

Our group steps off in the 11th Congressional District Parade.
Our group steps off in the 11th Congressional District Parade.

I’ve been urged to share some observations from our campaign activities over the Labor Day weekend.

  • More people knew about this campaign than I expected. They don’t know much about it, but a pretty fair number have heard about it, know that it’s a contested race, and are pleased to have choices.
  • People aren’t sure just what the State Board of Education does, but they sense that it has the potential to make a difference.
  • The vast majority of voters agree with my concerns about runaway testing, unconstitutional school funding, and unaccountable charter schools.
  • On hearing that I’m a candidate, a surprising number of people aren’t content just to say hello and move on: they want to talk. Some have a personal or family story to tell: they are eager to tell it and grateful that someone listens to them. Others want to know what I believe about educational issues, and most are pleased to hear some sanity.
  • Although they have many alternatives, people want excellent public schools to be available for their children, grandchildren, and neighbors. Although Ohio’s charter school laws use the term “community schools” as a euphemism for charter schools, most people understand that the real “community schools” of Ohio are the public schools.
  • Although we’ve all heard people say that “some parents just don’t care,” I haven’t met any. Some parents aren’t sure how to care, but they all care for their children and want the best for them.
  • Most people I talk with understand that there is more to being educated than recalling facts: they agree that education involves aspects of behavior, judgment, and values that tests can’t measure.
  • The concerns I’m seeing and hearing are pretty much the same regardless of residency, profession, race, or economic status.
  • Our campaign–based on a diverse coalition that reaches respectfully across common divides–receives a warm welcome in every community we visit in this wildly diverse district

This is hard work, but it’s worth doing. Thanks for helping.

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.