It’s not every day that I (Greg) get to recommend a personal and professional friend to such an important position as the Ohio School Board, so I jumped at the chance to talk to Dr. Antoinette Miranda when I found out she had decided to run for the seat being vacated by Mike Collins, who is out as a result of being term-limited.
The seat, representing State School Board District 6, covers much of Franklin County, and all of Delaware and Knox Counties (see map at right). While School Board candidates run as non-partisan, it’s important to note that Dr. Miranda has been endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party, the Ohio Education Association, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
Here’s a little bit of the “standard information” about Dr. Miranda:
Antoinette Miranda, Ph.D., is a highly qualified and widely endorsed candidate for the Ohio State Board of Education’s 6th District and Professor and Director of the School Psychology Program in the Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University.
She is a highly experienced educator, with six years of work in schools in New York, Kentucky and Ohio, and 28 years of graduate instruction at The Ohio State University.
With extensive field experience in school psychology, Dr. Miranda has provided training and consulting assistance to several central Ohio school districts on diversity, student achievement and intervening with at-risk students.
“Through my work with local schools, educators, administrators and teachers-in-training, I have tried to make sure all students have the opportunity to attend quality schools with highly trained teachers and support staff,” she said.
“Now I want to take my background in schools, college teaching and community work and bring it to the policy table. My personal goal is to represent the 6th district well. To do that, we need to make sure that all students have great opportunities, whether they are at-risk, have special needs or abilities, or come from urban, suburban or rural areas of central Ohio.”
Dr. Miranda lives in Columbus with her husband, James Miranda, a graduate of New York City public schools, works as a business management and marketing teacher and coaches basketball and football at Eastmoor Academy High School in Columbus. The couple has two children, Michelle, a graduate student at The Ohio State University, and Jimmy, who attends Columbus State University. Both attended Columbus City Schools.
I reached out to Dr. Miranda to ask her a few specific questions about her decision to run for State School Board:
Question: After a long and successful career, including many years helping to educate future educators, what has motivated you to jump into the world of politics by way of the state school board?
Dr. Miranda: I want to bring sensibility to the board. I have long been frustrated by what seems to be the inability of the board to advocate in ways that benefit all children in the state of Ohio. After 29 years at the university, I continue to have a tremendous passion for making education work for the most vulnerable of our children. My focus is in three areas:
- Equitable school funding
- Accountability for all schools
- The whole child (academic, behavioral, mental health)
Question: What do you believe the role of state school board members should be in terms of helping to shape or influence legislation introduced in the Ohio General Assembly?
Dr. Miranda: The State School Board should provide guidance to the legislature about education issues that are evidence-based and supportive of all children in the State of Ohio. The Board should be a strong advocate for holding all schools that receive taxpayer monies accountable, and transparency with respect to funding issues should be the norm, not the exception.
Question: What do you believe are the most important issues that you need to address as a member of the state school board?
Dr. Miranda: One of the most important issues is Charter Schools in Ohio. A recent Washington Post article states that Ohio Charter schools have become a joke. Public schools in Franklin, Delaware, and Knox County have lost millions of dollars to charter schools that, in large part, are no better than the public schools. And, in fact, monies are going to charter schools that are worse than the public schools. We must demand accountability and transparency. If the state wants charter schools, then the state should pay for charter schools, not the districts.
A second issue is high stakes testing. We need to reduce the amount of time our students spend in testing. Too often the focus is on giving students the basics at the expense of higher order learning and creativity. This is especially true in districts that have a high number of low income children because there is tremendous focus on improving the test scores so that districts are not punished. We lose sight of the importance of so many other skills such as creativity, higher order thinking, problem-solving, etc.
A third issue is resources and funding of schools. The Ohio Supreme Court – on four different occasions – has ruled that property taxes are an ineffective way to fund schools. Yet, we still don’t have an equitable funding formula.
There are many more issues but these are the top three.
To find out if you live in District 6 and will get the chance to elect my friend and a friend of public education, Dr. Antoinette Miranda, to help restore common sense to the State School Board, you can go to OhioBallot.com/Miranda.