This week Steve investigates the cutthroat world of local school board elections. So, get ready to get down and dirty... Just kidding! His guest, Rana Odeh, is the genuine article: thoughtful, straight forward, and unafraid to bring up uncomfortable topics. At a time when the country’s political polarization seeps into every crevice of civic and social life, our school boards have become battlegrounds. Rana is willing to armor up and fight for our youth and their education.
Rana is running for a seat on the school board in Granville, OH, where she lives with her three kids and her husband, Fadhel Kaboub – a dear friend of this podcast. Anyone who follows Fadhel on Facebook has seen their beautiful family of fledgling artists, musicians, and young campaigners.
Steve and Rana talk about the lack of a federal right to education in the US and the need for proper (federal) funding, decoupled from the local tax base. They talk about the mask mandate wars now being waged in schools across the country, serving as proxy for the deeper political divide. They talk about Islamophobia.
The recent hysteria over Critical Race Theory is absurd because, as Rana points out, CRT isn’t even taught in K through 12. It’s a law school term. Racism itself, however, is alive and well in every part of our society. Instead of helping students understand the history of racism in this country, the focus is on No Child Left Behind with its emphasis on testing and memorization.
Students are memorizing things, but not learning how to write very well. And other life skills. I'm thinking about how to get along in society, and the discussion on racism is a big part of that. How can you go out into the workforce in 2021 or later and not have a basic understanding of racism and current affairs...
Rana’s emphasis is on the whole child, preparing them for problem solving in the real world. In a recent candidate forum, she said:
It's about learning for life and equipping students with the skills they need to be collaborative, critical thinkers - empathetic, adaptable, responsible, and resilient.
If any of our listeners are in Rana’s district, we urge you to support her campaign and vote. For everyone else, perhaps listening to her will spark your imagination for ways to engage in your own community.
Rana Odeh is a mother of three boys, a potter, and a public speaker. She and her husband Fadhel have enjoyed being active members of the Granville community for the past 12 years. Rana currently serves on the Granville Township Land Management Committee and has served on the board of the Granville Parent Cooperative Preschool. She has previously worked as a freelance writer and editor, and was a debate forum columnist for the Dayton City Paper. Rana has a Bachelor's degree in English, and a Master's degree in International and Comparative Politics.
Follow her on Facebook: Rana Odeh for Granville School Board