State of education discussed

Increased spending and smaller class sizes are not predictors of success in the classroom, according to Springboro Board of Education president.

Kelly Kohls, who also is president of Ohio School Boards Leadership Council – a voluntary, non-partisan organization of board of education members and candidates – said she has become “gravely concerned” over education in the past five years.

“I’m driven to change education in this country,” Kohls said at Thursday night’s North Central Ohio Conservatives meeting.

Globally, United States education is “losing ground” every year to other countries, despite spending the most per student in the world, she said.

Ohio has increased per-student spending, while test scores have remained flat, she said.

In addition to spending, she also said smaller class sizes have not proven to be as effective in student performance.

Class sizes in the U.S. have decreased, while performance has remained flat.

Other countries are averaging class sizes of 30-38 and outperforming the U.S., which averages 23-28 students.

Kohls said school board members are largely to blame, and parents need to have more initiative when it comes to educating their children.

She also said a majority of teachers “are great people, are in it for the right reasons, but somehow the system is not working for our kids.”

The Ohio Graduation Test grade students with a low standard where a student can answer 43 percent of the questions on math and reading and still receive a “proficient” grade.

A student can receive a 79 percent score in the OGT reading test and be considered “advanced,” and can answer 77 percent of the OGT math questions correctly to be “advanced.”

“I think just raising the bar isn’t going to help us,” Kohls said. “We can’t even bring the kids to the (standards) we have. All it’s going to mean is that you have a bar that a greater percentage of your students don’t make it to. So it’s a system failure, that I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.”

She said education leaders need to treat education like a business.

Kohls encouraged people to be more involved with the education system, and run for school board.

She said schools need help educating both the district employees and the community.

Also at the meeting, members of the NCOC paid respects to Ray Bailey, who died Monday.

“There was no one more passionate for the cause of freedom and liberty than our friend and brother, Ray Bailey,” NCOC President Jim Green said.