When people ask me about my background, I often tell them about my experience as a school board president. I look back at that time and am very proud of some of the choices that we made for the students at my alma mater.

Not only were we making key decisions about the management of the school, but the choices we made were having a direct impact on the students’ ability to learn—preparing them for success later in life. Better preparing students is a task that I have taken from my time on the school board and am now applying as a state representative.

I can remember being told when I was in school that it wasn’t the specific content I had to learn while I was there; it was learning how to learn. This is something that we take with us all through life, so it’s important that we lay a good foundation for the young people of our state.

Recently the House passed Senate Bill 316, and it was signed into law. This legislation deals heavily with Ohio’s K-12 education system. As a member of the House Education Committee, I was pleased that we were able to look in-depth at the bill and ensure that it was right for Ohio students. It makes some needed and reasonable changes.

One of the aspects of this bill that you might have heard of is what is called the third grade reading guarantee. This is a concept that was strongly backed by many and received favorable support to the point that it was included in the final version of the legislation.

The third grade reading guarantee ensures that Ohio students have a high literacy rate. Because of the legislation, the reading abilities of students in grades K-3 are assessed. If they are not reading to the level that they should be, remedial services are provided to help the children who need it. While it’s possible a student could be held back, they are assessed at each grade level to ensure that they are where they need to be when third grade comes around.

Learning to read is one of the most important aspects of anyone’s life. Up until third grade, you are learning to read, but after that you are reading to learn. It is important that students have this ability early on in order to develop their future educations and careers.

Students who don’t graduate high school often face strong disadvantages in life. This means not only having a harder time finding a career, but also not being able to attend college and increased risk of incarceration. They are also in greater need of financial assistance.

No one should be at a disadvantage in life because the educational system failed him or her. The third grade reading guarantee and other changes in Senate Bill 316 make smart changes that will benefit our students in the future. I am looking forward to seeing the positive effects this legislation will have on our children.


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