Who Is Meryl Johnson?

Dear Friend,

After 40 years of successful teaching in the Cleveland Public Schools, many years of community engagement, and three years of retirement, I have decided to run for a seat on the State Board of Education in District 11. This is a non-partisan race, so I will be on the November 2016 ballot.

Currently, our state school board lacks diversity; there are no elected minorities on the board. That means a large segment of Ohio’s families are not having their stories told, and therefore are not getting their educational needs met. Some of our state leaders don’t understand that poverty creates a greater need for resources. A State Rep once told me, “Kids in Cleveland’s district get the same money my kids in Mayfield Hts. get. What’s the problem?” During an interview, another State Rep said, “When I went to school, we had 50 kids in my class, and I learned just fine.” Our school funding is inequitable, and yet everyone is judged by the same test. That is so unfair! I’ll make sure State School Board members have the researched facts they need to make better decisions. I’m not naive, just hopeful. This is my opportunity to advocate for strengthening our public schools and preserving them for future generations.

I have three priorities for which I am advocating. All of Ohio’s children have a right to attend public schools that do not drown them in unnecessary tests. Schools should be places where teachers have the time to enjoy teaching and to develop meaningful relationships with their students. At a time when school should be fun, our youngest children are faking tummy aches so they don’t have to go take those “stupid tests.” Many of our experienced, dynamic teachers have become so demoralized they’re fleeing a profession that they love. I am also running to push for more accountability and transparency for charter schools. Our tax dollars are being wasted in a corrupt system that makes abuse very easy. For example, a charter school operator can report a student population of 300, and the state will send the needed funds with no proof provided. The state is presently trying to recoup money from one of the charter schools guilty of this fraudulent act. Did you know that $25 billion still remains uncollected from charter schools that have closed? Third, and just as important, I believe teachers’ and students’ voices must be an integral part of educational decisions that are made by State Board members. Their thoughts and ideas must be included in discussions. We have too many non-educators making decisions that determine a young person’s future.

In order to win, I will need to raise a lot of money and recruit a lot of volunteers. There are about 500,000 voters in District 11, which includes most of Cuyahoga County and a portion of Lake County. I have been a hard-working advocate for public education and Ohio’s children for decades. Please help me take my knowledge and experience to Columbus.

For further campaign updates, please “like” my Facebook page, Meryl Johnson for State Board of Education. My campaign email is: meryl4stateboard@gmail.com.

Thank you for believing in me.