It has now been almost two weeks since the gathering of hundreds of Ohio educational leaders on the Statehouse steps in Columbus.
News coverage of the event was mixed (see links below), but the fact remains that in my 40 years as an educator, I cannot remember a time when superintendents, board members and citizens from all over Ohio joined together to express their concerns in such a manner.
I was honored to be one of five speakers selected to address the gathering that day. What follows is a copy of the speech I shared that day:
Thanks for coming out this morning to show concern and support for the students of your community. I, like many of you, represent the voices of the children and families of our communities. As educators, we have historically tended to work toward achieving compliance with all the state and federal accountability mandates, however over the last few years as the pace and kind of accountability mandates have accelerated we have all reached our collective breaking point. Enough is enough!
Many of us have been in the statehouse meeting and communicating our concerns regarding the amount of, and the kind of accountability requirements that have been heaped upon our local schools and our students. We have informed, communicated, and advocated with our elected representatives in regards to these many concerns. In many instances our concerns have been dismissed.
Many of us are here today because in spite of our efforts inside the building that sits on this site, our local communities, our kids, continue to suffer the effects of this over-accountability madness. I believe our local communities deserve to have the kinds of schools they desire. I believe our local communities are the best evaluators of the quality of our schools and I believe it is our local communities and parents who should be making accountability decisions for our schools; not the folks up here at the state level or the federal level.
Many parents feel that they have very little control over what’s happening to their children and that speaking out does nothing as they do not believe that their voices are being heard.
We are here because there is a collective graduation accountability cliff that our kids are being driven over as a result of ill thought out legislation, ill thought out regulation, and ill thought out implementation.
We are here today to call attention to this because it seems trying to work inside the building on this site hasn’t sufficiently raised our representative’s level of concern. Hopefully our action to bring attention to these accountability concerns along with our continuing to engage our representatives will result in needed change.
We are here today seeking:
- changes to the graduation point system that was created by the State Board of Education.
- reductions in state mandated assessments which result in over-emphasis on standardized testing which negatively impacts our students and classroom instruction.
- more local control and autonomy related to school accountability.
Thank you for attending today. It’s time for all of us to collectively hold our representatives at all levels accountable.
Links to media coverage of the event