Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

State Leaders Working to Ensure Local Control for our Schools
Recently I joined families in west central Ohio to participate in “We Will Not Conform,” hosted by Glenn Beck.  This program was hosted at movie theatres across the country where viewers served as audience participants in the program that focused on the pitfalls of Common Core. This experience opened my eyes even more to the risks associated with the Common Core and further solidified the need to stop the implementation of it in Ohio.
The goal of Common Core came with good intentions. Providing a set of standards that would result in all students covering classroom material in a similar order helps transient students remain on the same educational path as their peers. President Obama hi-jacked this program and tied it to federal dollars through Race to the Top, thus abandoning local control that is a staple of education in Ohio.  The ultimate goal of the Obama administration is to nationalize education.
Stopping the Common Core in Ohio starts at the local level where the grassroots need to work together to draw the support of their elected school board officials.  In west central Ohio the grassroots have been respectful in their goal and have garnered attention of the local school boards—but work must continue to protect local children from nationalized education.

The work of the grassroots groups not only garnered local attention, statewide officials have made a note of this issue and they have expressed interest in learning more and keeping high quality education in Ohio’s schools.  The work of the local grassroots people has elevated this issue to a state level discussion. 
The Governor, Speaker of the House William Batchelder and our Senate President Keith Faber are engaged in the discussion and they are interested in protecting Ohio’s school children.  As a sign of that commitment these three leaders collaborated with experts in education to pass new laws effective next school year that will ensure local people are running Ohio’s school systems.
House Bill 487, the education reform bill that was part of the Mid-Biennium Review included provisions that help to protect Ohio’s children from the nationalization of public education. It requires education standards to be more specific and clearly written so there is no confusion in what we teach our children. It also makes sure that students’ personally identifiable information is protected, so that it will not be used to distinguish or trace the student’s identity.
Western Ohio is a great region with the best teachers, administrators, and most involved parents you can find. We shouldn’t have to conform to an education system like Common Core because our school systems are more effective and efficient than Common Core.
Ohio students deserve the best. That is why a provision was built into House Bill 487 that reaffirms Ohio’s power in creating its own curriculum, independent of any other state. Local school boards, teachers, administrators, and parents know best when it comes to selecting textbooks and establishing curriculum for their students. Allowing parents a more active role in these decisions is a responsibility that our schools should be taking seriously.
School districts in western Ohio are the perfect example of how the involvement of local administrators, teachers, and parents produce the best possible education system for a child to learn from.  In Ohio we are committed to stopping the federal government’s takeover of education.  We remain committed to local control in Ohio’s schools. This is a step in the right direction.  There is more to be done but Ohio’s schools will be under local control in the 2014-2015 school year.
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