Local School Board President "Disgusted", Slams ODE

We posted a letter to ODE yesterday by Summit County Superintendents challenging the recent PARCC test results, today we have another hard hitting letter to ODE from the President of the Board of Education for Firelands Local Schools. Here it is.

Dear State of Ohio School Board Members,

As a parent of three elementary school children and board president of a rural school district in Northern Ohio, I am disgusted with our districts recent report card ratings from the State of Ohio. Our district, previously labeled with characteristics of excellence and distinction, has been berated by the same State with D’s and F’s. 

So what has changed in the last 2-3 years? School districts have been forced to comply with Federal and State strong-arming and top-down governance with a complete loss of local control, while being mandated to enforce Common Core, PARCC standardized testing, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, and Ohio Principal Evaluation System with minimal effective implementation practices. Well our community fought back and, due to the overwhelming grass-root resistance in the state, the PARCC test was abolished. Yet we are still being “graded” on the same test that was deemed ineffective by the State of Ohio. 

Meanwhile, the same State of Ohio is fleecing its taxpayers of its hard earned tax dollars to fund incompetent charter schools with no governance, transparency, or proof of actual value. Nor were these charters forced to enact the same mandates as the public schools. How can two completely different models of best educational practices be funded by the same foundation and both be deemed worthy? And here’s the kicker, these unjust practices were enforced by the same State Departments that have been embarrassed with lies, corruption, and resignations. Yet here we are 120 miles from Columbus defending the “grade” bestowed upon us from the same agency that has created every barricade and obstacle in our path.

It’s time that we stand up and tell the state to stop meddling with our children’s education. I know that we have both taken the vow to protect the children of our district and state and to create a positive and enriching environment for each child to excel. What has been created is toxic! Not only for the children, but the staff and administration too. The State deserves better and our children certainly deserve better. They are our future!

Let’s regain control of our state and local school boards. I beg you to give us the tools locally so that our district and teachers can have some flexibility to adapt educational opportunities to what fits in our community. One that helps each child meet their unique goal and sense of accomplishment and pride. Not a one-size fits all fear over a standardized test score!

Lastly, please don’t belittle me with Mr. Kasich’s “Our local school boards select the curriculum” speech. We all know that curriculum is chosen to meet the state mandates not each district’s unique needs, challenges, and goals.


Ben Gibson

President of Firelands Local School Board