Speaker wants ‘seamless approach’ to Ohio education

Ryan Loew

Elementary educators and university professors listened to a discussion on collaboration yesterday afternoon, as Susan Zelman, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction, advocated “a seamless K-16 approach to standards-based education.”

Zelman delivered an address to about 75 faculty and students in the Student Center Governance Chambers. She discussed aligning Ohio’s educators from the elementary to higher education levels to improve the quality of learning in the state.

“I know we’ll be successful when our K-12 teachers and our higher education faculty see themselves as part of the same profession,” she said.

Improving education will improve the state, Zelman said, which is in need of educated citizens in the workforce.

“We have to make sure that every kid graduates high school and moves on to (higher) education,” she said. “We have to change the way we think about doing our business. If we keep on doing school the way we always do school … we will in effect get the same results.”

Kent State has done much to develop a “seamless approach” to education, said David England, dean of the College and Graduate School of Education.

The college has a variety of partnerships with area schools, England said. It also offers summer camps for students to get to know Kent State.

“Part of the reason we can’t reach farther and deeper has to do with resources,” England said. “And we’re making the most of what we have.”

Zelman also discussed the issue of lacking resources due to less state support for education.

“Everybody wants better service, and everybody wants better schools,” she said. “But nobody wants to pay for it.”

While this may cause some anger and confusion toward the state government, Zelman said it would be a “disservice, if we distrust legislators.”

Earlier in the day, Zelman visited Holden Elementary in Kent, where she discussed how math standards are incorporated into early childhood education.

“We had a rich conversation,” Zelman said. “I found that the students were well versed and inquiry based and that they learned a lot from the teachers and that the teachers learned a lot from them.”

She also visited mathematics classes in the Math and Science Building. There she discussed coordination between faculty and teacher education candidates.

Zelman said she also had an opportunity to talk to students about the differences between high school- and college-level math courses.

“I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “I’m impressed and encouraged by what I’ve seen. I think that there are some really great innovations going on.”

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].