Candidates Seeking Election To The State Board Of Education Should Tell Their Vision and Objectives For Public Education

According to the State Board of Education website, the focus of the state board is to deliver an education that will make “all students well prepared for success.” The definition of “success,” according to the state board, evidently is the acquiring of skills needed to earn a living, the skills needed for industry. What bothers me about the vision and objectives articulated by the leaders of Ohio education (see below) is that this vision / objectives for Ohio’s public education could just as easily be articulated by the ministry of education in North Korea explaining the vision / objectives for North Korean public education.

Yes, like North Korea, we want skilled and willing workers who will build our industries and make us competitive in the world. What is missing from the objectives for public education in Ohio listed by the state board is any mention of the importance of preparing children to be full participants and contributors to their democracy. This omission of any emphasis of a democratic purpose for public schooling is also evident in the Common Core.

I agree with the point of view expressed by Alan Singer in “What’s Missing From Common Core Is Education for Democracy.”

Common Core standards are supposed to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn” and be “relevant to the real world.” But “real world” expectations are defined as preparing students for “success in college and careers” and “to compete successfully in the global economy.” As best as I can ascertain, in the entire document, there is no real discussion of life in a democratic society and the role of education in promoting democratic processes and democratic values. …

Democracy is hard to build as we are witnessing around the world. It requires a sense of shared community, respect for democratic values such as minority rights, concerns for the well being of others, freedom of expression, and the right to be actively involved in the political process. It requires a sense of being part of an inclusive and diverse body politic, of citizenship.

District 3 is composed on Senate Districts 4,5 and 6

District 3 is a large territory — composed of Senate Districts 4,5 and 6

The state board website notes, “The State Board of Education was established in the Ohio Constitution in 1953 to ensure that citizens were given a voice in decisions relating to public education.”  There are nineteen members of the state board. Each serve a four year term. Eight of the members are appointed by the governor and the other eleven members each represent a geographic district composed of three senate districts. We live in District 3 and this year we are empowered to elect one member of the state board to be the voice of citizens in this district on the board.

There are four candidates seeking election to represent District 3 on the state board. The incumbent is A. J. Wagner — appointed by Governor Kasich when Jeffry Mims resigned to serve on the Dayton City Commission. The three challengers are: Charlotte McGuire, Mary M. Pritchard, and Sarah L. Roberts.

I’ve been studying their answers on two forums:

I see nothing in these two forums that deal with the issue of defining the purpose of public education in a democracy.

I am looking for a candidate to the state board who will seek to revise the mission / objectives of the state board so that it would be impossible to confuse it with the mission / objectives of the education in a totalitarian state. I am looking for a candidate who will advocate a mission for Ohio public education that focuses on building the capacity of children to be active and contributing citizens in a democracy.


The State Board of Education

Our Vision

The State Board of Education’s vision is for all Ohio students to graduate from the PK-12 education system with the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary to successfully continue their education and/or be workforce ready and successfully participate in the global economy as productive citizens. Ultimately, all students will graduate well prepared for success.

Our Objectives

To graduate all students well prepared for success, the State Board will focus on the following objectives:

  1. Teaching 21st century knowledge and skills for real-world success;
  2. Effectively delivering support for a high quality education;
  3. Providing sufficient resources which are efficiently managed; and
  4. Developing a statewide outreach and communication strategy on board policy and the importance of education in the 21st century.
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