Mary Binegar

Mary Binegar

Binegar, 71, has a bachelor’s degree in education from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Dayton. She is a retired teacher.

Describe what is motivating you to seek office:

I am running for the State Board of Education because of two fundamental beliefs.

First, I believe that public education is the foundation of our democracy. In order for our democracy to continue, we must have a well educated populace. Second, I believe educators should have a strong voice on an agency that oversees and sets policies on education. Over the past few years we have seen the State Board influenced more and more by those who advocate for dismantling our public school system. I want to be one more voice to speak up for the vast majority of Ohio’s students attending public schools.

Articulate your thoughts on the three issues you deem most important for the position in this election:

The three most important issues are state funding of education, addressing the inequities that exist in our current system, and the overuse of standardized testing and the misuse of test scores to evaluate student progress. Funding is always a critical issue with public schools but even more so now as schools try to find ways to safely operate and stay open. The recent cuts in state school funding more than cost any money received from the federal government for Coronavirus relief. The need for adequate PPE as well as disinfectant and cleaning supplies is overwhelming to most districts. This plus the drain of funds to charter schools and Ed Choice vouchers makes it very difficult to provide the education every student deserves. Ohio must create a funding system that no longer has an over reliance on property tax but equitably provides resources for quality education for all students.

Additionally, the pandemic and closing of school facilities and sudden shift to online

learning last spring put a glaring light on the wide disparities in access to the internet and

access to adequate technology which were dependent mainly on their zip code. These

factors plus racial bias and socio-economic factors greatly influence a student’s chance

for success. During the pandemic, many parents were forced to choose between feeding

their families or staying home to provide supervision and support for their students’

academic efforts.These disparities must be discussed and resolved so that all students have the opportunity for a quality education.

Finally, standardized testing tells how well a student can do on a specifically formatted test on a given day. It does not measure the full academic abilities of a student.

Standardized tests can only give an overview of how well the school’s curriculum matches the curriculum of the test. Aggregate student scores can help schools make curricular adjustments. Individual student scores should only be used as part of the student profile to help adjust the student’s instruction as needed. A true student profile would include class work and projects which allow various ways for students to express knowledge as well as test scores. Standardized test scores alone should never be used to rate a student or a school district.

If elected what are your goals for your term?

My goals for my term are to develop a good system of communication with the school districts, parents and parent groups within my Board district and to be a strong advocate for the vast majority of Ohio’s students being served in public schools. To improve communication, I would visit as many school districts as possible in person or via the internet in order to celebrate the great things happening in public schools as well as listen to concerns or issues. I would also encourage parents to contact me by phone, email or letter with their concerns and attend parent organization events as much as possible.

As an advocate, I will fight for all schools being held accountable to the same financial and reporting systems so there is accountability for every tax dollar spent no matter where the educational services are provided. I will work diligently to correct the inequities that are in our current system. I will also work to change the current state report card to get rid of letter grades based too heavily on standardized test scores.

Do you have any additional comments or message to relay to the public?

My entire career has been dedicated to meeting the educational needs of students. I have 35 years of teaching experience and over 25 years as an education advocate at the local, state and national level. I understand the complexity of our state funding system and Ohio’s learning standards for all students. I believe in our students and understand the importance of a quality education to help them achieve their full potential.

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