Eye on Education

New Ohio State Superintendent Is All About the Boys and Girls

The new head of the Ohio Department of Education doesn’t talk much about the youth. Or the children. Or students, whippersnappers, anklebiters or tots. But he really loves to talk about boys and girls.

New State Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross works the phrase “boys and girls” into just about every public comment he makes. It’s kind of his trademark.

In statehouse testimony on school finance in February, he hit the mark twice, mentioning “boys and girls” who are struggling in school and “boys and girls” in the poorest communities.

His comments on Early College Week? All about preparing “boys and girls” for college and careers.

And at Gov. Kasich’s school funding reveal events in January, we stopped counting the “boys and girls” mentions (Besides, a “boys and girls” drinking game just didn’t seem appropriate when, well, children were involved.)

Ross says the constant “boys and girls” refrain is about focusing on the right people–the boys and girls:

“I think too often in public educaiton it’s gotten to be a business where it’s about adults and I think it’s important that we refocus… I just want to be the clarion call [saying] that it really needs to be about our youngsters.”

In His Own Words

Ross served as superintendent of the Reynoldsburg school district for 20 years before becoming Kasich’s lead education advisor last year. He left that post to serve as head of the Ohio Department of Education last month.

And with Ross’ arrival. the Department of Education created a series of new graphics to accompany department media releases and announcements. Previously, those announcements were headlined something like “News Release” against a bar of color.

Guess what images appear prominently at the top of the page now. Hint: It’s not a cat and dog.

Department spokesman John Charlton says with Ross’ arrival, the department created new press release and website headers, letterheads and business cards.

Charlton says he “cannot speak to what inspired the actual design.”


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