Bob Sommers, the exit interview

Bob Sommers, Ohio Governor Kasich’s “education czar” for the
past year officially stepped down from his position on January 31, and before leaving
he sat down with
Rick Hess
for an interview about some ed reform successes of the past year
as well as what still needs to be accomplished in Ohio. He is leaving his post to
return to the school-management business where he is forming a new company,
StudentmindED Schools.

In the interview Sommers notes that while 2011 was a big
year for education reform in the Buckeye State there is still work to be done,
namely the creation of a P-20 data system that will allow the state to collect
data on everything from Kindergarten readiness to employment rates of college
graduates. Sommers also says the state’s report card must be amended, “We have
a convoluted report card system that can label a school with a fifty percent
rate of failure as ‘honors with distinction.’ That just doesn’t work.”

Sommers likewise admitted to some mistakes that he and the
Administration made in the last year, including the failure to explain Issue 2
to the public, “We just didn’t do a good enough job of explaining to the public
the problem that we tried to solve. The public didn’t see the problem that we
saw.”

Finally he discusses the status of Race to the Top
Implementation, key challenges in implementing reform, and what surprised him
the most about his job as the Governor’s top education advisor. But I won’t
spoil it all for you. Go check out the interview for yourself in its entirety here,
it’s a good read!

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