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A Perfect Storm

Youngstown-perfect-storm-blog The education news in Ohio recently is so utterly unbelievable it reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live Weekend Update segment “Really?” with Seth Myers and Amy Poehler. Governor Kasich wants to abolish teachers’ “lounges”. Really? David Hansen intentionally excluded online charter school failure rates in order to make them look more successful. Really? Superintendent Ross circumnavigated the State Board of Education to override the Youngstown improvement plan to create a new one. The state legislature pushed through the legislation allowing that move in one day, giving no time for debate. Really? Continue reading →

It’s Not an Option For Me

union_yes_blog By Julie Rine, Minerva Local Education Association This year was the 20th time I have joined my local association. Honestly, the first time I did it, I was young and naive and so used to signing papers that I think I just filled out the form that was given to me and didn’t think much […] Continue reading →

There’s Nothing Funny About This Joke — Ohio’s Charter Schools

ohio-charter-joke2 Last week, ODE official David Hansen resigned after admitting that he left out failing grades for some charter schools in the evaluations of the groups who sponsor them. His defense was that the F grades of those schools, when factored in with the other grades, would “mask successes elsewhere.” A simple Google search of “Ohio charter schools” will give you two things: a list of general charter school information sites as well as specific charter schools available, and many, many articles about the horrifying state of charter schools in Ohio. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Akron Beacon Journal, and the Columbus Dispatch have all written critical articles or editorials about the lack of accountability and transparency with Ohio’s charter schools. Continue reading →

Protesting the Picketers

protesting-protesters-blog One of my colleagues once gave me the advice that we cannot focus on the fantasy of how things should be, but instead we must deal with the reality of how things are. The reality is that we have kids in our classrooms every day who are in great pain, who feel that the way they feel or the choices they have made are unacceptable and wrong. They are bullied and beaten down by words or fists. They are mocked and made to feel like freaks. They have lost friends and family because of who they are or what they have done. That’s why it is unfathomable to me that anyone would not want our classrooms to be a place of safety and acceptance, a place where a teenager can feel respected and be treated with common decency. Continue reading →

Celebrate Our Successes

Celebration Teachers, parents and children have worked for these changes, in a variety of ways, throughout this school year. They have hosted forums, engaged in conversations with community members, started support groups on Facebook and contacted elected officials. Despite all of the advocacy, however, none of these issues has been resolved. Knowing that these issues still linger, it’s easy to get depressed and frustrated. Continue reading →

Influence Change Through Lobby Day

Lobby-Day-2015-Blog Following our trip to Columbus, lawmakers didn’t immediately take action to change the amount of time spent on testing or the amount of money our school district received. Charter school accountability didn’t improve either. The next day, I went back to my classroom and legislators went back to their meetings and responsibilities as scheduled. To the untrained eye, it may seem that we didn’t accomplish much by participating in OEA Lobby Day. That’s flat-out wrong. Continue reading →

Big Walnut teacher focuses on building relationships to improve student achievement

big-walnut-blog Teachers are often lectured, “Get to know your students, but that’s not easy to do. A lot of kids can be pretty closed down, and, if you try to get to know them before they’re ready, it can be counterproductive. Bonding with students is fundamental to the learning process. John Hattie, in his landmark book Visible Learning, created a list of 138 influences on student learning. He placed student-teacher relationships in 11th place, far ahead of many things one might think more important. State departments of education, including Ohio’s, are requiring resident educators to demonstrate that positive relationships are being fostered in classrooms. Continue reading →