Since early in this campaign, I have been emphasizing three themes: Commitment, Service, and Leadership. On Friday I wrote about Commitment; yesterday I wrote about Service; and today I’m taking up the third theme: Leadership.
When I attend a meeting of the State Board of Education, it seems clear that the people there–appointed and elected, Republicans and Democrats–are trying in their own ways to do the right thing for Ohio’s kids. They are generally conscientious and sincere.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re right. As Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” And some positions taken by some State Board of Education members are simply wrong.
The State Board of Education can play a role in upholding what works best for schools and kids. We can’t get there by talking only with people who agree with us. We need to point out when members are mistaken, persuade those who are persuadable, and unite those who advocate for responsible positions; and those are leadership skills.
My work as a leader of educators has taught me to work with a very diverse membership, the public, and lawmakers, and to reach across organizational divides. Fifteen months of observing State School Board meetings convince me that the Board needs those skills, and I look forward to bringing them to Columbus.
With the proper leadership, the State Board of Education can lead the way for things we know work for kids: consistency; patience; high expectations; and respect for learners, educators, and learning itself. And if we can do that, all of us will benefit.