Publisher’s Note: Unmasking the Inconsistencies – Columbus City Schools and the Union’s Questionable Priorities

By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher

Black families entrusting their children’s education to Columbus City Schools deserve far more than what they’re currently receiving. From safe and healthy educational environments to punctual transportation systems and a curriculum for the 21st Century, these families should expect nothing less. Sadly, the existing system is letting down our community’s most vulnerable members.

The Columbus Education Association (CEA) has been vocal in supporting the upcoming tax levy for Columbus City Schools. Yet, it’s worth noting that the majority of these teachers neither reside in the district nor send their own children to these schools. Therefore, they won’t bear the financial burden of a property tax hike. When they went on strike over inadequate building conditions, they quickly capitulated once salary raises were on the table, sidestepping concerns about the still-deplorable state of school facilities. Despite my own reporting on unsatisfactory conditions at Eastmoor Academy and East High School, the union remains conspicuously silent on this issue.

The community rallied behind the teachers during the strike, and I agreed that educators who actively support student achievement deserve fair compensation and good working conditions. However, it appears that the teachers were more focused on their own financial gain than on broader educational reforms.

When it comes to student achievement, the school district’s report card is abysmal—receiving essentially four D’s and an F on statewide assessments. The metrics must start reflecting excellence or at least an earnest effort toward it. How can the CEA or any teachers offer a valid opinion when they are part of the problem? Would their perspectives change if they had to send their own children to the state’s largest public school system? Would they be as enthusiastic about a $100 million tax levy if their property taxes were affected?

Black families and their children deserve a more accountable and equitable educational environment. The school board, administrative staff, teachers, and yes, their union, must elevate their performance for our children’s futures. A thorough examination of the roles each stakeholder plays in this failing grade is imperative. Simply throwing more money at the problem isn’t the solution we need.

Just my thoughts…rwb


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