Much of my professional life has been a story of meetings, whether as a teacher, a union president, an NEOEA and OEA leader, or now as NEOEA Executive Director. This new quest is not so different.
I started attending State Board of Education meetings in July: that was when ODE’s top school choice official was forced to admit that he had knowingly scrubbed the ratings of online charter school operators, and the State Superintendent admitted that he had helped develop legislation that now permits the privatization of the Youngstown City School District. (One left within days, and the other is retiring at the end of the month.) I’m attending these meetings to familiarize myself with the issues that the Board deals with, which is part of my education as a potential Board member.
Meanwhile, I’ve been attending some other meetings with a more pragmatic purpose: talking with members of the labor community to ask for their support and to get their ideas about this campaign. I met this morning with leadership from the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
One of the points I’m making in all these meetings is that although I am clearly an OEA member, it’s a mistake (and actually premature) to characterize me simply as the OEA candidate. Those of us who support public education must not allow our organizational loyalties to divide us; my goal is to represent the entire community of public school supporters.
Although they’re very different, these meetings all have the same purpose: whether observing Board decisions or talking with potential supporters, my focus is on connecting supporters of public education. That’s the only way we’ll ever achieve the promise of public education.
This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education, http://bill4board.us.