“Where is the consensus?” was an editorial piece which was originally published in the Youngstown Vindicator and reprinted on the Aug. 15 editorial page of the Wilmington News Journal. The opinion piece cited a letter signed by seven members of the State Board of Education calling for an independent investigation of Ohio Department of Education and State Superintendent Richard Ross, concerning ODE’s oversight of charter schools and Superintendent Ross’s involvement with the “Youngstown Plan” legislation which was inserted in the state budget bill.

It was “disturbing” to the editorial board that the other 11 (one other seat is vacant) state board members did not sign the letter. The editorial erroneously surmised that there was a lack of concern and consensus on the State Board of Education on these matters.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I was not, and to my knowledge, none of the other 10 members of the board were aware of the letter, nor given the opportunity to discuss or offer suggestions before the letter was released.

The manner in which this letter was presented reminds me of a quote from educational writer Peter Greene, “We have mixed politics and education and we are getting politics.” Partisan action such as this letter does not promote discussion of serious matters but rather divides the board making a consensus resolution much more difficult to achieve. That should be “disturbing” to all of us.

I am concerned about the pervasive political atmosphere being cultivated on the board and its impact on the decision-making process. As your elected representative for District 10, I will continue to search for common-sense solutions to the difficult problems facing our students and teachers and work toward informed discussion and consensus resolution where possible.

Ron Rudduck

District 10, State Board of Education