To the editor:

It is a call — again — for more local control.

The superintendents of twelve K-12 school districts, two career and technology centers and the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center are joining educational leaders across Ohio in voicing concern that state edicts may continue to provide for extensive overreach in testing and are sending a strong message to state legislators regarding implementation of the recent Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

According to the U.S. Department of Education, ESSA builds on key areas of progress in recent years, as made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents and students across the country. In practice, ESSA was established in part to allow for more state-driven measures on student performance targets and school ratings, with state-developed identification and intervention for district accountability.

Area superintendents from Adams, Clinton, Fayette and Highland Counties, along with hundreds of other public school superintendents around the state, are speaking out to express their recommendations regarding Ohio’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act and committing themselves to the following beliefs:

• Public education is a critical component of an informed democracy.

• Public education serves each and every one of our students who represent the diversity of our communities.

• Locally controlled public education with governmental support is valued over public education dominated by government regulations.

• The principal architects of the locally controlled education system in Ohio should be community members – including parents, principals, teachers, students, school board members and superintendents.

Current federal testing requirements include reading and math in third through eighth grades and one high school test. The state of Ohio, however, expands upon those minimum requirements to include testing in reading, math, science and social studies in fifth through eighth grades and also requires multiple end-of-course exams for high school.

Our message is simple: reduce testing to the federal requirements. Let our teachers teach. Let our children learn. Let our Boards of Education have local control.

The Superintendents of Adams, Clinton, Fayette and Highland counties urge community members to speak out for our students by contacting your state legislators and sharing with them the importance of reestablishing local control of public education.

For more information regarding ESSA and Ohio’s plan for every student, please contact your state legislator.

Signed by the following superintendents:

Rich Seas, Adams County/Ohio Valley Local Schools
Dean Lynch, Blanchester Local Schools
Ted Downing, Bright Local Schools
Matt Baker, Clinton-Massie Local Schools
Eric Magee, East Clinton Local Schools
Bill Garrett, Fairfield Local Schools
Harry Snyder, Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development
Joe Wills, Greenfield Exempted Village Schools
Jim Smith, Hillsboro City Schools
David Lewis, Miami Trace Local Schools
Brett Justice, Lynchburg-Clay Local Schools
Kevin Kratzer, Southern Hills Career Technical Center
Tony Long, Southern Ohio ESC
Matt McCorkle, Washington Court House City Schools
Ron Sexton, Wilmington City Schools