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Ohio Educator's View from Democratic Convention

The Democratic Party platform rejects high-stakes testing and teacher evaluations based on student test scores. (Democratic National Convention)
The Democratic Party platform rejects high-stakes testing and teacher evaluations based on student test scores. (Democratic National Convention)
July 26, 2016

PHILADELPHIA - An educational leader from the Buckeye State is among those at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The president of the Ohio Education Association, Becky Higgins, is serving as a delegate, and said she's excited to get a glimpse at what the future of education will look like in the country should Hillary Clinton win the presidency. Higgins explained the National Education Association endorsed Clinton because she's stood by teachers on universal pre-k and other issues.

"As a first grade teacher for the last 19, 20 years, I know how important it is that our students come to school ready to learn, have that background knowledge that they're going to be able to be successful, so education issues are of primary importance to me this week," she said.

The Democratic Party platform, released last week, rejects high-stakes testing and the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations, which is a departure from the Obama administration's K-12 education agenda. The platform also supports community schools and greater accountability for charter schools.

This is Higgins' first time serving as a delegate, a role she said she's honored to serve. And she notes it's an emotional week for her given the historic nature of this year's DNC.

"I know that from now on when I ask my first graders, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' Little girls are going to believe that 'Yes, I can be president,'" she added. "It is going to be possible because I've seen what's happening this week."

Higgins said she's also speaking with other educators at the convention about the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. She notes that in Ohio, community members, parents, teachers, elected leaders and the Ohio Department of Education will need to work together to develop a compliance plan.

"And then how are we going to effectively implement it in the state? It is going to be absolutely key," she said. "So right now we are having those discussions, many groups are working together to come up with a plan that is going to be successful for all the students in Ohio."

The act replaces No Child Left Behind and gives states more flexibility in developing educational standards.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH