Streetsboro's Baba urges people to 'stand up for public schools'

by mike lesko | Reporter Published:

Streetsboro -- The National School Board Association is taking a more aggressive stance about supporting public education, according to School Board member Denise Baba, and has put together a website dedicated to it that urges people to "Stand Up For Public Schools."

She said the website is: Standup4publicschools.org.

"The key points of the campaign are to show America's strength is public education, to support a global vision and to make sure people recognize that every child counts because when you take public money and direct it toward private schools, there's a potential for some kids to get lost in that system," Baba said at a recent School Board meeting.

Baba, using her own money, traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to take part in an NSBA lobby day on Capitol Hill. She said "Stand Up for Public Schools" was discussed in an NSBA conference.

"One of the reasons [the NSBA created the website] is, they are putting out a public relations campaign because over the past number of years, the belief is those who are critical of public education have really set the dialogue in the media," Baba said. "Instead of letting the critics of public education set the dialogue, they thought school board members across the nation need to stand up and talk about a lot of the good that comes out of public education.

"They had a gentleman from Gallup, which does surveys," she said. "They found out, generally speaking, if you ask a parent, 'How do you like the school that your child goes to?' the parent will rate that public school very high.

"But if you ask them, 'What do you think about education nationally?' they will [generally] give it a very low rating."

Baba said the issue is, "people are pleased with their local public school. Because the conversation in the [national] media is so negative, when you ask about education in general, people [generally] say it's not performing."

She said there are "all kinds of things that local school districts, free of charge, can use [from the NSBA website] to put on their own websites or supply their local newspapers with.

"Statewide, the people [from the NSBA] that were there wanted us to go back to our local School Boards and remind our Board members that we need to be involved in the conversation and not let the critics of public education set the agenda and dominate the conversation," she said.

"We need to talk about all the good things that happen in public schools and all the successful people who have been educated in public schools," Baba said. "A lot of what the United States is today is because of public education.

"I encourage you to talk about all the great things that are happening in public schools," she added, referring to Board members and residents.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

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