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Ohio Education Association declares success in school board races

desks and chairs in empty school classroom
Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro says overall voters throughout the state chose candidates who focused on meeting students' and schools' needs instead of those who campaigned on divisive issues, such as mask mandates and critical race theory.

School board races around Ohio in Tuesday’s election produced a variety of winners, both for and against mask mandates, but the Ohio Education Association is pleased with the results.

“Over 80% of our targeted candidates were successful,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “By and large candidates who were focused on issues of meeting the needs of students, fulfilling our constitutional responsibilities as a state were successful.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, school board meetings have been a flashpoint of controversy for parents who disagree with mask mandates.

“Those who were campaigning on divisive topics using race as a wedge issue, using COVID as a wedge issue were unsuccessful in many places across the state,” DiMauro said.

He points to Hilliard where school board candidate Kara Crowley who supported the decision to mandate masks won the most votes.

“The No. 1 vote-getter was somebody who was very supportive of the school district and an educator herself,” DiMauro said. “So even there you know two people who were affiliated with this anti-mask group they weren’t the top vote-getter.”

DiMauro says he doesn’t think the hotly debated critical race theory was a factor.

“It has been widely pointed out that Critical Race Theory isn’t something that’s being taught in schools,” DiMauro said. “But what needs to be happening is attention paid to meeting the needs of all students, which means paying attention to diversity, making sure that we’re inclusive in our curriculum and our instruction.”

DiMauro says Ohio voters generally made the right choices.

“Overall, as voters did their homework, they decided that they were supporting candidates that really cared about students and wanted to keep their public schools strong," DiMauro said.
Copyright 2021 WOSU 89.7 NPR News. To see more, visit WOSU 89.7 NPR News.

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.