PUTNAM COUNTY — Eight schools in Putnam County are now part of an over 40-member multi-county advocacy group ­— Northwest/West Central Ohio Public School Advocacy Network (NWCOPSAN) — a group that grew from concerns over a loss of local control in public education. The group spans over ten counties and includes a network of members who plan to advocate for positive changes in public eduction that they believe will make for better schools.

It is a call – again – for more local control. All Putnam County Schools are joining other area districts that are members of the Northwest/West Central Ohio Public School Advocacy Network (NWCOPSAN) in voicing concern that state edicts continue to provide for extensive overreach in testing, and the district is sending a strong message to state legislators regarding implementation of the recent Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Let our teachers teach. According to the U.S. Department of Education, ESSA – the federal education act that replaced No Child Left Behind in December 2015 – builds on key areas of progress in recent years, 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.

Superintendents from these Putnam County schools agree that:

• Our hope that the establishment of the ESSA and removal of federal one-size-fits-all mandates would provide our districts the opportunity to re-establish more local control

• Our reality is a continued reduction in classroom instruction time due to additional testing the state is mandating – beyond the federal minimum requirements

• Our request is that state legislators reduce that testing requirement

Currently the federal testing requirements include reading and math in grades 3-8 and one high school test. The state of Ohio expands on those minimum requirements to include testing in reading, math, science and social studies in grades 5-8, and multiple end-of-course exams for high school. Our message is simple; reduce testing to the federal minimum requirements. This action will better allow our teachers to teach and our students to learn.

These Districts want to ensure our community’s voice is heard regarding Ohio’s implementation of ESSA. The Ohio Department of Education will be hosting several ESSA stakeholder meetings – with one in The Toledo Club Centennial Room, 1st Floor 235 14th St. Toledo, OH 43604 on Thursday, September 15 from 6 pm to 8 pm. (http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA) to see full details for the this event and others to register.

Columbus Grove: Nick Verhoff

Continental: Danny K. Kissell

Fort Jennings: Nick Langhals

Kalida: Karl Lammers

Miller City-New Cleveland: Kerry Johnson

Ottawa-Glandorf: Don Horstman

Ottoville: Scott Mangus

Pandora-Gilboa: R. Todd Schmutz

About NWCOPSAN

The more than 40-district strong Northwest/West Central Ohio Public School Advocacy Network (NWCOPSAN) was developed in 2015 to build a collective voice of school districts advocating for students with lawmakers in Columbus and Washington D.C. and to build a better communication link between our communities and our lawmakers.