It was an important moment for Ohio’s school children and the positive impact is still being felt.  In November 2014, a group of 100 public school superintendents from across Ohio met in Columbus to share their growing concern about the impact of the school reform movement.

One of the most important insights from the meeting was the realization that most of their citizens were in the dark about the extent to which statewide education policies were impacting their local schools.  They were unaware that our children were being over tested, our teachers were exhausted and feeling undervalued, and our tax dollars were being diverted to replace our public schools with a privately managed, free-market system of education.

As a result of that meeting, the Ohio Public School Advocacy Network was formed to bring Ohio’s citizens together to discuss the situation and help shape future statewide education policy.  

One of the initial actions taken by OPSAN was to ask Ohioans how they view education reform and its impact upon their local schools.  Four public opinion surveys were conducted in 18 Ohio counties with a combined population of nearly 3 million people. The major finding from these surveys was that a wide gap exists between the views of many of Ohio’s citizens and important statewide policies that are currently in place.

OPSAN also helped to delay Ohio’s response to the Every Student Succeeds Act by providing additional time for public discussion, and it was instrumental in supporting the Ohio Public School Deregulation Act which was signed into law.  

Most importantly, OPSAN has strengthened the relationship between Ohio’s school superintendents and our statewide policymakers, and it has set the stage for the next phase of the work that needs to be done.  That work is the transition of OPSAN from a superintendent-led initiative to a community-based grassroots movement.  

There can be few greater causes than bringing citizens together to make a difference for our children, for our communities, and for our country.