On August 3, 41 school districts in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren Counties joined forces to send a simple message to Columbus and Washington D.C. - "Stop!"
The newly formed Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network is calling for more local control of the public's public schools.
“Our students are being challenged to be more innovative, creative and engaging. And, it is our strong belief that educators are doing an outstanding job of answering that call – but the work is becoming nearly impossible. Unfunded, burdensome mandates have made public schools less accountable to their communities,” explained Deer Park Community City Schools Superintendent, Jeff Langdon.
The school districts representing rural, suburban and urban southwest Ohio communities share a common belief that the unfunded mandates have emanated as a one-size fits all answer to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Dr. Gail Kist-Kline was one of three area superintendents who spoke during Monday's media conference. Read her full remarks.
“Over the last decade, a mountain of new educational policies were put in place at the state and federal level. Those mandates often emanate from a notion that schools are broken and need fixed. But, the facts do not bear that out. While results show that our schools have continued to perform better—even while being asked to do more—the layers of new mandates are now becoming untenable. What used to be considered “creep” has turned into an avalanche,” said Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Mason City Schools Superintendent. “It’s time for the state to stop enacting unfunded mandates, constant testing and other initiatives that burden our taxpayers and classroom teachers -- and that do not help academic performance.”
During the coming year, the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network will focus on returning local control to our schools and in letting our local professionals do their job. Specifically, school districts hope to mobilize educators, parents and residents to lobby the legislature to curtail state testing even more; and, to eliminate unfunded mandates and state initiatives.
“We intend to engage our communities in understanding the unfunded mandates - and how those mandates impact our teaching professionals and our finances. We will also engage them in reaching our legislators so that we are heard,” said Dr. Robert Farrell, Milford Schools. "Here’s what we know: Each day, our local public schools do an outstanding job. It’s time for not just our voices to be heard on these important issues but for parents and taxpayer voices as well.”
The Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network conducted a random telephone survey of over 800 southwest Ohio registered voters in May 2015. Results affirmed that southwest Ohio voters share professional educators’ concerns about the erosion of local control of their schools.
Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network Members
Edgewood City Schools, Fairfield City Schools, Hamilton City Schools, Lakota Local Schools, Madison Local Schools, Middletown City Schools, Monroe Local Schools, New Miami Local Schools, Ross Local Schools, Talawanda Schools
Batavia Local Schools, Bethel-Tate Local Schools, Goshen Local Schools, Milford Exempted Village School District, New Richmond EV School District, West Clermont Local Schools, Williamsburg Local Schools
Cincinnati Public Schools, Deer Park Community City Schools, Finneytown Local Schools, Forest Hills Local Schools, Indian Hill School District, Lockland Local Schools, Loveland City Schools, Madeira City Schools, Mariemont City Schools, Mt. Healthy City Schools, North College Hill City Schools, Northwest Local Schools, Norwood City Schools, Oak Hills Local Schools, Princeton City Schools, Reading Community Schools, St. Bernard-EP School District, Southwest Local Schools, Sycamore Community Schools, Three Rivers School District, Wyoming City Schools
Little Miami Schools, Mason City Schools, Springboro Community Schools