I have seen it on my ballot. Some years there is only one name to choose from…or two people I don’t know. It’s one of those ‘down ticket’ elections that matter, but no one really talks about…until now.
Ohioans for Educational Freedom (OEF), an Ohio PAC focused on parental choice and in particular homeschooling rights in education, is spearheading a push to get grassroots folks elected to the State School Board. “The Ohioans for Educational Freedom PAC is the only Ohio political action committee that is singularly focused on protecting the rights of Ohio’s home educators, as well as educational freedom for Ohio’s parents to decide what choice most applies to them,” said Mark Stevenson, director of Ohioans for Educational Freedom.
For the past five years, OEF and other liberty minded groups around Ohio have been struggling to answer the question, what can we do to make our state better for our kids. One answer that is always the most effective is electoral impact. Elections matter. Our elected officials are the people who have the final say in many of the issues that touch our life.
The State Board of Education is charged with one of the most controversial decisions in Ohio right now, what to do about Common Core.
The State Board of Education, according to the Ohio Department of Education website, is made up of 19 members – 11 who are elected and eight who are appointed by the governor. The chairs of the education committees of the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate serve as non-voting ex officio members. The Superintendent of Public Instruction serves as secretary of the State Board of Education. There are six seats on the ballot this fall.
The purpose of the board is written in Ohio Revised Code, ORC 3301.07.
- Exercise policy forming, planning and evaluating functions of all schools
- Exercise leadership in improvement of public education, including instruction and instructional materials, buildings, and equipment, transportation, administration, finance and organization
- Administer and supervise the allocation and distribution of all state and federal funds for public school education
- The state board shall formulate and prescribe minimum standards to be applied to all elementary and secondary schools in this state for the purpose of requiring a general education of high quality.
- The state board shall prepare and submit annually to the governor and the general assembly a report on the status, needs, and major problems of the public schools of the state, with recommendations for necessary legislative action and a ten-year projection of the state’s public and nonpublic school enrollment.
The fourth point in their directive is the most important right now; “state board shall formulate and prescribe minimum standards to be applied to all elementary and secondary schools in this state for the purpose of requiring a general education of high quality”. It is the State Board of Education that decides the minimum standards for our kids. They are the votes that are cast to decide if we keep Common Core or have something new. In the past few years, this group of elected officials has been strong supporters of Common Core.
The election of new State School Board members is very important this November. Getting to know who you vote for and where they stand on educational issues is very important. For the State School Board, Ohio is broken up into 11 districts. Ohioans for Educational Freedom has created an interactive map, so you as the voter will know what district you are in and who is the recommended candidate in that district.
As I have been getting to know this office, I decided to meet with a few of the people that Ohioans for Educational Freedom endorsed that are running in my area. I met with Mary Prichard, who is running in the 3rd district; Butler, Preble, Mongomery, Miami and part of Darke Counties. She has been President of the Butler County Educational Services for a number of years and is a strong leader in homeschooling and parents rights efforts. I also met with Zac Haines, a small business owner, running in the 4th district; Hamilton and Warren Counties. Both of these candidates have my full support for these races. Their main goal is to protect parent rights and evaluate the standards coming into our schools.
Ohioans for Educational Freedom has endorsed candidates in several of the districts. These are grassroots people running for State School Board with the two purposes in mind; repealing common core and protecting the rights of homeschoolers. Find your district and make sure you support and spread the word about your candidate in this important race.