State of Education Ohio: State School Board

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About this project

The Ohio State Board of Education sets into motion the policies governing education in Ohio. Members devise graduation and testing standards, teacher licensure rules and evaluations, accountability methods, curriculum and more.

The News Outlet and The Akron Beacon Journal, a consortium of journalism programs at Youngstown State University and the University of Akron, teamed up to design and conduct interviews with board members and research public records to provide an understanding of how education is administered.

Beacon Journal staff writer Doug Livingston was the lead reporter on the project. The News Outlet reporters who contributed to this project were: Karen Bell, Harry Evans, Lee Murray, Natalia Fenton, Rachael Kerr, Ashley Morris, Max Kalik, Rachel Salyer and Matt Hawout.

Instructors of the The News Outlet who devised and directed the research are Alyssa Lenhoff, Mary Sweetwood, Tim Francisco, Tom Maraffa, Andrew Bush and Christine Davidson.

Profiles of Ohio State Board of Education members

Thomas W. Gunlock, Oct. 7, 2013 Board VP Gunlock supports accountability, choice efforts - Ohio Republican governors have twice appointed Thomas Gunlock to positions on the State Board of Education. Most recently, he was appointed to an at-large seat and serves at the vice president of the board. He is a major donor to Republican politicians. Gunlock said his focus on the state board is to be a principal player in implementing the teacher evaluation system and to “change the accountability system.”
Ann E. Jacobs, Oct. 7, 2013 Jacobs critical of attempts to politicize state school board - Ann Jacobs is serving her second term as the District 1 representative on the State School Board of Education. She is at odds with Ohio’s Republican governor over public funding of private schools and the use of vouchers. Jacobs says she is a “big advocate of the public school systems, which unfortunately the board isn’t anymore.”
C. Todd Jones, Oct. 7, 2013 Jones, head of lobby group, becomes an outspoken member on state school board - C. Todd Jones was appointed in 2011 to an at-large position on the State School Board of Education by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He has become an outspoken member, who sits on five committees including Achievement and Graduation Standards. Also, he is president of a group that lobbies on behalf of 50 private universities and colleges in the state seeking funding and influencing legislation.
Kathleen A. McGervey (Darryl D. Mehaffie in background) Oct. 7, 2013 McGervey critical of federalization efforts, traditional public schools - Kathleen McGervey was elected in 2010 to her first term as the District 2 representative to the Ohio State Board of Education. She is active in the Ohio Republican Party and in the Roman Catholic Church. As a board member, she is critical of the Common Core standards and traditional public schools, and is a proponent of parental choice in schools.
Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. Oct. 7, 2013 One of few urban voices on state board to leave post in December - Jeffrey Mims Jr. will step down in December from his seat as the District 3 representative on the Ohio State Board of Education. He was the only African American on the board and one of few members with experience in urban school districts. During his tenure, he said he has been on the “short side of the majority.” Mims expects that, after leaving, the governor will appoint someone who sides with the majority thinking. “The balance politically on the board is already out of whack. It shouldn’t really make a difference, but it does.”
Mary Rose Oakar, Oct. 7, 2013 Oakar a fervent critic of ‘bad’ charter schools - Mary Rose Oakar is a Cleveland native and the first woman sent to Congress from Ohio. Now, she represents District 11 on the State School Board of Education. Oakar finds herself at odds with the majority decisions on the board especially when it comes to charter schools and funding for public education. However, there is one shared goal. “I do think that making sure kids know how to read by the time they’re in the third grade is very, very important – and that is one of the goals the governor has that I agree with.”
Darryl D. Mehaffie, Oct. 7, 2013 Mehaffie finds social problems plague today’s education system - Darryl Mehaffie came to the Ohio State Board of Education with a background as a teacher and a player in the state’s Republican Party politics, having served as campaign finance director for U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. He is also a 30-year veteran of the classroom, having taught fifth-graders. Once a critic of school vouchers, Mehaffie now says he supports this method to publicly fund private schools because they offer parents the right to determine the education of their children.
Ronald W. Ruddock, Oct. 7, 2013 Latest appointee, Rudduck, critical of Ohio school funding system - Ronald Ruddock was appointed in August to the State Board of Education by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to fill an open seat in District 10. While he is the newest member on the board, he has a long history in education, having worked as a teacher, administrator and superintendent in public schools. He also wrote a book about the school funding system in Ohio, titled “The ABCs of School Finance.” While he has much experience with the funding side of schools, he admits he needs to educate himself on the issues facing urban school districts.

Interactive Features

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Ohio State School Board Members: Campaign Contributions

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