In an ideal world, the leader of the Ohio House Education Committee would meet with people like me, public school teachers with experience in the classroom and a moderate knowledge of educational policy. We've gone so far from logic in educational policy in Ohio that this has become terribly unlikely.
I, however, imagine a more beautiful scenario where Representative Andy Brenner and I sit down and shape policy for the betterment of all of Ohio's students. He shares something about his love of Ayn Rand. I convey my working class sensibilities, and love of Steinbeck. In my scenario, I describe Elyria as Cannery Row and champion the saints in my city who've become victims of the system, and somehow Andy buys it. Or a bit of it, perhaps. Anyway, I wrote Rep Brenner in the interest of my dream, and I encourage you to contact him too. Here's my letter to Andy...
Congratulations on your promotion to Chair of the House Education Committee. As a public school history teacher at Elyria High School, I look forward to your efforts on behalf of all of Ohio's kids. Having championed shorter assessments, and having voted for HB2, you have begun the process of correcting what has become a troubled education system, and laughable charter school system.
Let us be clear. This progress is fine and well, but it is a beginning. HB2 is important, but terribly limited. Public schools like mine still outperform charters despite Ohio law working in their favor. Let's level that playing field, Rep Brenner.
I also believe it's high time our legislators addressed the unconstitutional funding system and resume adequate funding to successful publics. A vital component of this would be fixing a system that allows charters to get funding for nonexistent students, or those who had returned to their home, community public school, but remain on charter rosters.
As for student success, our testing system still sucks far too much time from instruction, and its high stakes nature warps any prospect of meaningful instruction or authentic learning. Ohio's children deserve a move to federal minimums of standardized tests at a shorter duration.
These are the issues that come to mind off the top of my head this evening, Mr. Brenner. I hope that in your new position, you will be open to public input regarding Ohio's education system. I can assure you that I enter my classroom daily with a deliberate resolve to do everything in my power to assure my students' success. When you accepted your position you indicated a desire to "make sure every child in this state has equal access to an excellent public education." I agree. Let's go.
Please, let me know your plans as we move forward. If there is anything that I can do to be of assistance in the way of educational experience or otherwise, do not hesitate to ask.
Yours in education.