Regional ESSA Stakeholder Meetings Gather Key Information to Inform State Plan

Monday, November 14, 2016

For Immediate Release

Contact: Claudia Y.W. Herrold, senior vice president, Communications & Public Policy, Philanthropy Ohio


Columbus, OH, November 14, 2016 – Today Philanthropy Ohio presented the feedback from its 10 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regional meetings to the State Board of Education and other state policy leaders. The ESSA state plan (replacing No Child Left Behind) must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in early 2017.

“As this plan is developing, collective engagement from our community members is critical to ensure all voices and perspectives are heard and that students and educators receive the supports they need to help our children succeed. We believe these meetings helped provide valuable input and guidance to the plan,” said Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D., president & CEO of Philanthropy Ohio.

Philanthropy Ohio and its members, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education, hosted the regional meetings, which over 1,500 people attended, between August 31 and October 6. The meetings gave Ohioans an opportunity to have in-person discussions with a wide variety of community members on key elements of ESSA required for the state plan.

State Superintendent of Instruction Paolo DeMaria attended all 10 meetings, providing a welcome and introduction as well as listening to and participating in the table conversations.  

In each community conversation, attendees identified the most important issue facing our students and schools today. The top issue identified was poverty and homelessness, followed by Ohio’s school funding system and resources; family engagement and home life; equitable access to resources; assessments; and the challenge of preparing all students for college and careers. This over-arching discussion of challenges was followed by more focused discussions on specific education issues and components that will need to be addressed in the state plan.

Dr. Allen presented an overview of the process and Lisa Gray, project director, presented key findings from the meetings, which are included in a white paper available online at

  • There was broad, strong and virtually unanimous support for increasing quality early childhood opportunities for Ohio’s children, especially those with the greatest needs.
  • There was a similar level of intensity of support for the coordination of supports and resources for wraparound services.
  • In general, those who are familiar with Ohio’s Learning Standards are widely supportive
  • Ohio’s assessment system received the most significant pushback of any of the issues that were discussed.
  • Concerns about Ohio’s report cards are closely tied to the concerns about Ohio’s assessment system.
  • Ohioans are not in agreement on how we should evaluate the effectiveness of our educators.
  • Improving our lowest performing schools and successfully intervening with our at-risk students is a goal everyone has for our education system, but who does it and how is up for much debate.

Philanthropy Ohio will provide the feedback collected at these and other ESSA meetings to the Ohio Department of Education and other key policy makers for use in developing and refining the state’s ESSA plan.


Philanthropy Ohio is an association of foundations, corporate giving programs, individuals and organizations actively involved in philanthropy in Ohio. Its mission is to provide leadership for organized philanthropy in Ohio and to enhance the ability of members to fulfill their charitable goals. It co-hosted the regional meetings as part of its Education Initiative, a member-driven project to improve education policy in Ohio.


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