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Part 2: Facilitating a Community Power Study

blog-power-map Your local would like to start a campaign to improve conditions at your workplace, and need to influence a school board leader to do so. But once goals and targets are set, your association’s members may disagree about the means to achieve your goals, or even more often, don’t know how to begin to develop a goal-oriented plan. Organizing a community power study is a great way to engage members in critical discussions about goals, power and strategic planning. Continue reading →

Third Grade Guarantee — Or Your Money Back

3rd-grade-reading-guarantee Part 1 of 2 Slogans, jingles, and taglines have caught consumers’ attention for years with promises of satisfaction … guaranteed. Pizza will be delivered hot, teeth will be whiter, and our internet faster — guaranteed or your money back. As consumers of Ohio REVISED Code 3313.608, known as the “Third Grade Guarantee,” Ohioans should ask […] Continue reading →

It all Starts in Cleveland

sit_in_the_corner Recently The Cleveland Plain Dealer and StateImpact Ohio pulled a little PR stunt by publishing teachers names and “value-added” scores. They also made an amateurish attempt to mask this unethical report by also pointing out some of the flaws of using the data to evaluate teachers. Then, after saying it was wrong and inaccurate, they published anyway. I guess competent reporting takes a back seat to tabloid-like, website hit generating drama. Continue reading →

Value-Added Scores Can Never Complete the Picture of a Teacher’s Work with Students

value-added Listing teachers as effective or ineffective based on narrow tests not designed to be used for this purpose is a disservice to everyone. Trained educators can use a student’s value-added data, along with other student data, to improve student instruction. But you should never promote a simplistic and inaccurate view of value-added scores as a valid basis for high-stakes decisions on schools, teachers and students – even if Ohio legislators have gone down that misguided road. Continue reading →

I am an OEA Member and I Lobby

i(3lobbying As a first time attendee of OEA lobby day, I can now say I have fought the good fight, by trying to explain to my elected officials what it is like in Ohio’s classrooms. Lobbying together, we were mothers and fathers with children at home, retired teachers with grandchildren, parents of private school students, and members of both political parties; an eclectic group to say the least with the same message: public schools must be adequately funded! Continue reading →

One Member’s Concerns About Common Core

common-core-blog Over the past year, I have been a member of the English Language Arts team in my district, looking at ways to best implement Common Core.  The collaboration has been great, as I have learned what and how my colleagues teach.  However, even after a year of working with the Common Core standards, I am […] Continue reading →

Part 1: Organizing a Community Power Study

power-mapping-3 Whether you are negotiating for a new contract or lobbying for a new law, power mapping provides a tool in which an organization can identify community stakeholders and develop a plan to influence them. Participants in a community power mapping exercise identify who has power, and then develop appropriate campaign-oriented targets, tactics and messaging. Power mapping provides a means to build community influence and pressure stakeholders to do the right thing. Continue reading →

Equitable Pay: The Underlying Principle of the Single Salary Schedule

gender-wage-gap It seems the budget bill, House Bill 59 (HB 59), has become a dumping ground for the worst ideas our legislature can think of. One bad idea, among many, is the elimination of the single salary and minimum salary schedules for public school employees. The single salary schedule has been around for nearly a hundred years, having evolved from the inequity of elementary and high school salaries; men were paid more than women, white teachers more than African American teachers, and administrators’ favorites more than equally qualified coworkers. Continue reading →

Protecting Ohio Workers’ Rights

POWR-UMM-SCRTW For the past couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around Northwest Ohio, presenting information to groups about so-called right to work at Urgent Member Meetings — Protecting Ohio Workers’ Rights (POWR) — along with my friend Kate Jacob from the AFL-CIO. When I talk to teachers at these meetings, I try to draw on the parallel between plagiarism and so-called right to work laws. We wouldn’t tolerate a situation where a student gets an A by copying another student’s paper, having done none of the work to earn that grade. Why would we tolerate a situation where most workers contribute to the union so they can negotiate a fair contract, while a few pay nothing and get the exact same benefits that the union bargained for? Continue reading →

Report uncovers underperforming virtual schools

virtual-schools There has been a significant shift toward expanding online schooling and modifying existing regulations, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has played a major role in this effort. This is noteworthy because a number of corporations seeking to profit from online schooling have influenced ALEC’s policy agenda. A major virtual schools report found full-time virtual schools significantly underperformed compared to traditional brick-and-mortar public schools. The authors urge policymakers to slow or stop the growth of these schools until accountability measures can be put into place. Continue reading →
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