From the Superintendent



From time to time, I catch you up on different Ohio education initiatives and concerns I have about the challenges facing our public education system. One concern that weighs heavily on my mind is Ohio’s high number of high school drop outs.

I was incredibly fortunate—most of you were, too—to receive an education that prepared me well for college and for the career I eventually chose. I feel humbled and grateful that I had a family that believed in education, a good rural school system and one teacher, in particular, that believed in me. I owe my success to them.

But too many of our youngsters aren’t so lucky. Every year, thousands of students are floundering in Ohio’s classrooms—students whose futures could have been so bright, but who instead have fallen victim to systems that don’t recognize their unique gifts, that don’t expect them to do great things and that move them along without the skills they need to be successful.

Do you know what happens to students like that? I do. They disappear. It’s not dramatic, and there is no fanfare. They just fade from the front row to the back; from good attendance to bad. Until one day, they are just gone.

Last year, 24,000 of them disappeared from Ohio’s schools. That is not acceptable.

That’s why we must look at each child as a human being with great potential—irrespective of background or culture, family educational or economic levels, or the emotional challenges they bring to school each day. We must recognize that for many children, a caring teacher who is determined they will learn, and a strong curriculum that builds usable knowledge and skills, are the only advantages they have in their lives.

That’s why we must also carry out faithfully the Ohio education initiatives that seek to close the achievement gap, give our youngest students the fundamental reading skills and ensure that all girls and boys leave our K-12 system with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college and jobs.

As we move into the second half of the school year, I urge you to bear down on implementing the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, Ohio’s New Learning Standards and the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System as if your students’ lives depended on it—because they do.

Thank you for all you do for the boys and girls of Ohio.


Dr. Richard A. Ross
State Superintendent of Public Instruction