The A, B, C’s of My Promises Made. Promises Kept.

A.  When elected to the SBOE, I promised to ADVOCATE for our public schools, demanding adequate and equitable resources to provide high-quality learning environments for each child in every school.

I collaborated with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education to include a significant Arts presence as part of a well-rounded education in the Ohio Every Student Succeeds Act Plan (ESSA) that includes other federal Title funding for our most vulnerable students.

In the 2017 Biennial Budget, I supported increased resources promoting community health care partnerships, school safety efforts, technology infrastructure, support for Ohio’s Career Connections initiative, school psychologist training, early childhood and literacy education, and school improvement resources.

In June 2017, I voted to accept the hearing officer’s decision that ECOT owed ODE an estimated $60M in overpayments and another estimated $20M in 2018, as part of ECOT’s annual reviews.

B.  I continue to BELIEVE access to a high-quality education is the right of all students and a sacred trust the public must provide, no matter their socio-economic status.

Acting in this belief, I helped develop the EachChild-OurFuture Five-Year Strategic Plan that has at its heart these precepts:

  • Equity for all students, meaningful community partnerships, and quality schools that model a supportive, continuous improvement culture
  • Four equal learning domains: foundational skills and knowledge, well-rounded content, leadership and reasoning skills, and social-emotional skills
  • If Ohio is to attract and retain high-quality educators, collaborative professional learning and leadership environments must be in place that challenge individuals to explore ideas, adopt best practices, and have time to meaningfully engage with students and colleagues

C.  I promised to COLLABORATE with colleagues, constituents, and the legislature to address complex problems.

Collaborative Results:

  • Class of 2018 Graduation Options that were included in the 2017 Biennial Budget and in a recent SBOE Resolution to the legislature to extend these options through 2020
  • Reductions in state-mandated testing
  • EachChild-OurFuture Strategic Plan development that involved over 1400 stakeholders
  • May 2018 SBOE Resolution in opposition to HB512 which would effectively remove the public’s voice in Ohio’s Education System

State and Local Collaborations:

  • ODE/SBOE Graduation and Report Card Review Workgroups
  • Career technology education and Community Learning Center expansion
  • Early Childhood Education and Literacy
  • Homeless and Foster children





2018 Makeover for Pat Bruns’

Re-Election Campaign!

In the meantime….Here is what I have been doing on behalf of Ohio’s students

as your elected member of the State Board of Education!



In reviewing my work in 2017 and the over 8000 miles logged meeting with my constituents, I am honored to be able to continue to serve as your District 4 State Board member. With the end of the No Child Left Behind era of repressive testing and regulations, we have an opportunity with ESSA to reinvent ODE as a service-based partner with our school districts. We have laid the groundwork for such reform this past year. I remain committed to policies that will further strengthen our public schools and give them the resources they need, make charter schools accountable for public tax dollars, reduce/eliminate state-mandated testing, expand career-tech, problem-based learning and arts opportunities for all students. I will continue to encourage innovative and challenging educational environments that place high-quality teaching and learning at their center.

Respectfully submitted,

January, 2018


A New Year and a New Day at the Ohio State Board of Education!

We welcomed ten new board members, some elected and some appointed, but all with an interest to speak as one voice for all of Ohio students. Superintendent Paolo DeMaria continues reorganizing the department, getting to know board members through weekly updates and monthly individual phone conferences, and visiting seemingly every stakeholder in Ohio.

I am particularly proud of the board’s dialogue with Superintendent DeMaria to develop his 2018 goals. I believe it illustrates our shared interests and emphasis on inclusion and the educational improvements for which we are striving together. In particular, Paolo is committed to:

  • Nurture strong, positive relationships with Board members, members of the legislature, associations and advocacy groups, educators, and other stakeholders.
  • Create opportunities for focused stakeholder engagement on key educational topics – particularly for parents and students.
  • Strengthen and focus the Department’s efforts to support school improvement including the implementation of the school improvement features of the state’s ESSA application and research and dissemination of evidence based practices in closing achievement gaps.
  • Drive policy improvement work on the following:
  1. Graduation requirements
  2. Teacher Evaluations and the enactment and implementation of Board approved recommendations
  3. Report Cards and opportunities to improve clarity, fairness and meaning
  4. Assessments and opportunities to appropriately reduce testing, and the exploration of alternative modes of assessment

Refreshing, right? But what have we accomplished in 2017? Well, from my perspective….


We began by tackling the Graduating Class of 2018 Crisis through a workgroup that included myself, key stakeholders from education, business and community. Our recommendations were included in our biennial budget recommendations and were adopted by the legislature.

Important topics emerged from this workgroup that have framed much of our discussion throughout the year. Topics included alternative assessments to demonstrate competency, real world problem-based and integrated curriculum, career-technology paths and importance of 21st century and social-emotional skills.

The Superintendents Assessment Advisory Workgroup then made further assessment recommendations to reduce state-mandated testing. To date, the board has recommended to the legislature to eliminate English language arts and WorkKeys and will vote to recommend that the Class of 2018 Options be extended to 2019 and 2020 graduating classes.  UPDATE:  BOARD VOTED TO EXTEND AT JANUARY MEETING.  RECOMENDATIONS NOW GO TO LEGISLATURE FOR CONSIDERATION.

In March, we began work on a 5-year ODE Strategic Plan process with a SBOE Retreat to establish the board’s core priorities. I sit on the ODE SP Steering Committee and the Excellent Educators & Instructional Practices Workgroup. Attracting and retaining high-quality educators has been at the heart of our research and concern. Four other workgroups also include a majority of educators: Student Supports & School Climate and Culture; High School Success & Post secondary Connections; Standards, Assessments, and Accountability; and Early Learning & Literacy. We hope to adopt a final draft this spring.

(We reviewed this report to jumpstart out-of-box thinking to begin each of our workgroups)

As a member of SBOE’s Professional Development Workgroup, I discussed and approved our Policies & Procedures Manual revisions.


As a member of the board, I approved the Educator Standards Board recommendations to streamline the Teacher Evaluation process (OTES) and the Resident Educator Program.

In February, Ohio Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) Plan was submitted to the federal government for review. I worked closely with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education to include “well-rounded education” in six sections that will continue to position the arts in education as an important component of a child’s overall education. ESSA also offers more opportunities to target resources for our most vulnerable students: the homeless, economically-disadvantaged, and our youngest scholars.{“issue_id”:394129,”page”:22

The board unanimously voted to support ECOT’s repayment of $60 million for inability to verify 2015-16 enrollment. Legal challenges about the ruling from ECOT remain as well as ECOT’s interest in moving to a dropout recovery school. Questions about accurate enrollment data persist for the 2016-17 school year. Related Sponsor Evaluation Review at


As a member of the Achievement and Graduation Committee, I reviewed and adopted the English Language Arts, Math and Technology Ohio Learning Standards. Science, Social Studies, and Financial Literacy Ohio Standards have been under our review and we expect to adopt them at our January 2018 meeting.

I enthusiastically supported adding the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy as an option for graduates.

OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal is also one of the nine options available as part of the non-career tech alternative graduation option for the Class of 2018.

ODE rolled out a $2 Million Grant opportunity that encourages integrated curriculum. You can count on me to continue to enthusiastically advocate for increasing opportunities for educators to collaborate, especially with their arts colleagues to create important connections across curriculum for deeper student learning!

Online Professional Learning Module for Gifted Training: As you know, I supported the recently approved changes to the gifted rules to require general education teachers who are designated providers of gifted education services to receive high-quality professional development in gifted education. This professional development must meet eight gifted education competencies and include a minimum of 30 clock hours during year one and a minimum of 30 clock hours during year two with additional clock hours in subsequent years. These teachers also receive ongoing support from an educator with gifted licensure or endorsement. To help Ohio school districts meet these requirements, the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council (OLAC) is creating free professional learning resources. Developed by nationally-recognized experts in gifted education, these resources can be used by districts for individual or group-based learning. The first 30 hours is now available.  There is no cost for these modules, but they must be supported by a trained facilitator. More information can be found here. The OLAC website is:

As a member of the Accountability Committee, I voted to modify the newly revamped 22+ Adult High School Diploma program so that individuals working will have their best chance to receive a high school diploma and hopefully continue to gain employable skills.

We reviewed ESSA Section G: 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Section I: Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program and McKinley-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. My board colleague, Meryl Johnson, gave us an overview of best practices in trauma-informed interventions critical for students affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACES) and reaffirmed a critical need for more counselors and social workers in our schools.


Dustin Weaver, an English teacher at Chillicothe High School, represented us well as the 2017 Ohio Teacher of the Year. I am confident that Powell’s Liberty Tree Elementary art teacher, Jonathan Juravich, will also prove to be an outstanding ambassador as the 2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year! Working with my districts to nominate excellent educators for this prestigious award is my favorite part of the job!


At our January 2018 meeting, we will discuss a resolution to appoint a working group to review and recommend changes to improve understanding and usability of the State Report Card.
I see this as a logical component for review as part of the implementation of our ODE Strategic and Ohio ESSA Plan.  UPDATE:  TABLED UNTIL FEBRUARY MEETING.

Paper vs Computer Testing  questions persist in regard to whether the tests are developmentally appropriate and whether these tests measure knowledge or computer skills.

End-of-Course State Testing has some wanting us to continue to administer the Social Studies EOC test because they are concerned that the Founding Fathers Documents will not be taught otherwise. I have found that this is completely contrary to what is happening in schools. A reliance of memorizing amendments, etc. to pass a test has nothing to do with gaining an understanding of the important of these documents through authentic learning experiences that teachers no longer have time to implement because of testing!

State Report Card data collection re: Chronic Absenteeism and End-of-Course Test Retakes continue to be controversial.

The New Academic Distress Commission, that was added to HB 70 in 2015
in the eleventh hour, remains besieged by numerous legal challenges in Youngstown City Schools. Lorain City School District has become the second district to fall under terms of HB 70, which reduces the elected board of education to an advisory role and replaces the superintendent with a CEO. Also, after the first report card a district receives under HB 70, the CEO has the power to reconstitute any school in the district. As part of that change, principals and administrative staff can be replaced. A majority of the school’s staff, including teaching and non-teaching employees, can also be replaced. The CEO can hire a nonprofit or for-profit organization to manage operations of the school. Schools can be re-opened as a community school, a STEM school, or even permanently closed.


We developed required legislative policy in response to HB 410 Chronic Absenteeism.

Speaker’s Task Force on Education and Poverty

Senate Bill 85 (Senator Huffman) To create the Opportunity Scholarship Program:

House Bill 200 (Representative Koehler) To create the Opportunity Scholarship Program:

Senate Bill 197 BULLYING (Williams) To require a tiered disciplinary procedure for harassment, intimidation, or bullying in school; to require annual student instruction about preventing such acts; and to create the offense of aggravated bullying as a third-degree misdemeanor. 1st Hearing, Sponsor testimony.
House Bill 170 COMPUTER SCIENCE (Carfagna, Duffey) With regard to academic content standards and curriculum requirements for computer science; to revise educator qualifications regarding computer science; and to authorize public schools to establish computer science and technology funds. 3rd Hearing, All testimony.

Senate Bill 216 (Huffman) includes:

Educational aide permits and educational paraprofessional licenses:
Removes requirement for licensure for non-teaching employees working as an educational aide in non-federally funded programs. (ORC 3319.088)
Removes all qualifications for educational aide licensure besides an initial background check. (ORC 3319.088)

Non-teaching employees as substitute educational aides:
Allows non-teaching employees to serve as substitute educational aides without holding a permit or license. (ORC 3319.088)

Educator license grade bands:
Sets educator license grade bands as only K-8 or 6-12. (ORC 3319.22)

Educator licenses for substitute teaching:
Requires the State Board to establish new standards and requirements for obtaining an educator license for substitute teaching. Prohibits the new standards from (1) requiring an applicant to hold a postsecondary degree in any specified subject area and (2) restricting the number of school days that the holder of the license may work. (ORC 3319.226)

Teacher employment outside of licensure area:
Permits a school district superintendent to employ a licensed teacher to teach a subject area or grade level for which the person is not licensed. (ORC 3319.361)

Go to Ohio Legislative Service Commission for summaries at


SBOE meetings can now be viewed

on The Ohio Channel at


Join in the conversation and contribute to Ohio’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan

Under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Ohio will create a plan for how our local, state and federal programs are aligned to help all of our students be successful. The Ohio Department of Education will be seeking your involvement at a series of meetings throughout the state. Everyone is welcome to attend and share their ideas. Please join us at a meeting near you.

Additionally, the department will host a series of webinars covering focus areas within ESSA. Participants can learn more about specific topics and share their thoughts through a variety of response options.

The Ohio Department of Education is committed to comprehensive and collaborative community engagement leading to the development of our state Student Success Plan. A plan that is deeply rooted in the needs of Ohio’s students, educators and communities requires everyone’s input.

More information is coming soon. Please visit this website for the latest.

Local School Districts Band Together To Advocate For Local Control!

More background about important educational issues facing us in Ohio….from Joan Platz, Ohio Alliance for Arts in Education’s Arts on Line Education Update September 7, 2015 (
See “Superintendent: State making it ‘nearly impossible’ to teach” by Hannah Sparling, The Enquirer, August 3, 2015 at
Boards of education are also reacting negatively to Governor Kasich’s veto of a provision in HB64 (biennial budget) that would have ensured that school districts affected by the phase-down of TPP/PUTPP supplemental payments would received no less funding than in FY15.  The veto means that 116 school districts will receive a cut in state funding in FY17 compared to FY15 (about $84 million).  Some school districts are calling for lawmakers to override the governor’s veto when they return to Columbus in September.
See “Ohio legislature might reverse Gov. Kasich’s school-funding veto” by Jim Siegel,
The Columbus Dispatch, August 9, 2015 at
Lawmakers are also expected to take action later this month on HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner), a charter school reform bill that awaits a House response to Senate amendments.  Although the bill seemed to have the support of the Ohio House after Senate approval on June 25, 2015, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Senate President Keith Faber decided that the bill needed to be reviewed by a conference committee.
See “Ohio lawmakers stall on charter-school reform after they hurried through school choice bill”, by Doug Livingston, The Beacon Journal, June 26, 2015 at
New Audit of Charter Schools Released:  State Auditor David Yost released on September 3, 2015 a special audit initiated on January 14, 2014 for certain community schools sponsored by the St. Aloysius Orphanage, North Central Ohio Educational Service Center (NCOESC), and the Warren County Educational Service Center.  The special audit reviewed the schools’ organizational structure and operations, management companies, and other organizations that provide services.
According to the press release issued by the Auditor’s Office, the Ohio General Assembly should examine current statutes regarding the organization and operations of community schools, sponsors, and management companies, and do the following:
-Establish defined roles and responsibilities and minimum objective academic and financial standards for sponsors to evaluate proposed schools.
-Examine various methods of structuring relationships among community schools, sponsors, and management companies, and enact laws that would prevent arrangements that might be considered improper conflicts of interest.
Auditors also examined a total of $3,727,830 in expenditures by the schools, and identified $27,315 in unsupported disbursements and $4,802 in findings for recovery issued against two community school directors sponsored by the NCOESC.
See “Charter-school sponsor system is ‘broken,’ Yost says” by Bill Bush, The Columbus Dispatch, September 4, 2015 at

Hot Topics @ The State Board of Education

Hi All!

I know it has been a while but things have been pretty hectic!  I continue to meet with my districts, attend events, and to “learn the ropes” of my new position!  I have been posting relevant information on my Facebook page at Pat Bruns for State Board of Education.  On the outside change that you have not been following the news about education in Ohio, below is a good link that will get you up to speed…the July State Board meeting has proven to be a game-changer. 

The link below is a good overview of what we are up against!  FYI:  all the major editorial boards in Ohio have supported our call for an external investigation and recently the Wall Street Journal also weighed in that and external investigation is warranted.

It’s saddens me that there is possibly a culture of mistrust and inaccurate data reporting at the Ohio Department of Education. It is never a good thing when low-level staff are put in the middle. I believe an external investigation would provide employees, under oath, to be able to speak freely.
There is evidently a history of ODE miscalculations that has awarded charter schools more public funds then they would have been entitled to that go back to a settlement of $6 million that CPS received.
Currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court is a case that the Dayton, Toledo, and Cleveland Public schools have brought that would award them over $10 million collectively. Again, this is the result of funds being diverted to charter schools beginning in 2005. In the case of Dayton public schools alone that require them to turn over $5 million during a school year and resulted in the layoff of over 300 teachers and staff that year.  These are setbacks in a school system that take years sometimes to recover from. In the meantime, children’s academic success and the reputation of the district can be at stake.
On another note, the Ohio Department of Education and the Youngstown City School District has filed a lawsuit against the State of Ohio as a result of the implementation of House Bill 70. Specifically, the amendment that was added in the 11th hour with only one hearing, completely overhauls the governing structure of that school system. A CEO is appointed and the current superintendent and the elected Board of Education are stripped of their responsibilities and powers.  I could send you the analysis of the resolution if you’d like to see it. The original House Bill 70 was cosponsored by Denise Driehaus and had broad bipartisan support. It provided the necessary structure for other school districts to implement the community Learning center model that CPS is using in 42 of their 54 schools at this point…. and that is a good thing!
The Ohio School Board Association distributed a template resolution that many local school districts have adopted in opposition to House Bill 70 as well.

Please continue to spread the word about what’s going on and encourage folks to contact Senator Peggy Lehner, Chair of the Education Committee. I’ll be sending more information about Substitute HB2, which is still pending and would make very good strides in providing more accountability and transparency of charter schools sponsors.

I hope this finds you all enjoying an Artful Day!

🙂 Pat

“Great things do not just happen by impulse but as a succession of small things linked together.”  Vincent Van Gogh


Pat Bruns

2015 State Board of Education Member
District 4 (Hamilton & Warren Counties; part of Middletown)
on FB at Pat Bruns for State Board of Education
On Twitter @VotePatBruns
Register and VOTE!
“If the 99% voted, the 1% wouldn’t matter!”