LIMA — Ohio Department of Education District 1 Representative Ann Jacobs spoke briefly on public education in Ohio Thursday at the quarterly Black Network Meeting held at Bradfield Community Center.
Jacobs spoke on Common Core mandates and said it has been a highly contested battle.
“There are some who want the same basics taught statewide,” Jacobs said, “while others want more local control because they feel they know more what should be taught.”
However, Jacobs said one plus of the Common Core Curriculum will be the requirement of world history. She said kids from other countries usually had more of a world view and she felt the education system would benefit from it.
Jacobs said it appeared that some students were still falling behind despite students having more choices, but said in some cases some students thrived in a different setting.
“We are cognizant of the problems in urban schools,” Jacobs said. “We are cognizant of the charter schools also but it depends on the individual school. Some are very accountable and go above and beyond what is needed. Others are moneymakers that do not focus on educating the children. Sadly, the vast majority are not performing well.”
She said it was a complicated process trying to shut down under-performing charter schools that sometimes required litigation.
She said some online schools were performing well, pointing out a program that Findlay schools Superintendent Dean Wittwer oversees.
“Some children cannot make it in a traditional setting, and they are thriving in online schools,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the third grade reading guarantee which will mandate children being able to read at a certain level before moving on will soon be in full force and that $250 million has been set aside for the state Straight A Fund to help teachers implement worthwhile practices in classrooms.
She also spoke on urban school issues and how they can be addressed.
“You can raise awareness by attending the state school board meetings,” Jacobs said. “There are so many disturbed kids, and we have no facilities for children with mental health issues or family support. The average school dropout will cost taxpayers $292,000 on average. I think we should spend the money now and reclaim them before they’re lost forever.”
Jacobs said Governor John Kasich has promised more money to education in the budget and that taxpayers should hold him to that promise. She added that parents should become more active with their child’s education and seek answers from teachers or other school personnel when they had questions.
“There is not enough lobbying for urban schools,” Jacobs said. “People need to go to the meetings and speak.”
She also said she felt some ethnic groups may be not represented enough on the 19-member Ohio school board, with no black representatives among the 11 elected and eight appointed members.