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9/11: Teaching Tolerance

9/11 memorial September 11, 2001…. I remember where I was that morning, just as all Americans do. I was teaching seventh grade and classes were changing from second to third period. A boy named Nick came in and frantically said, “A plane just hit the World Trade Center.” My first thought was that this was an inappropriate […] Continue reading →

Remember the workers who fought for us

ludlow Today, most people are unaware of the McKees Rock strike or the tragedy in Ludlow or any of the countless other battles that workers fought that have led to decent wages and working conditions for Americans. They take for granted the 40-hour workweek. They take for granted weekends. They take for granted that they don’t have to worry about getting severely maimed or killed due to unsafe working conditions. Continue reading →

My Focus is on the Local

WHScreenshot This Tuesday, the White House honored Dayton Education Association President David Romick by naming him as a “Champion of Change” for his exceptional school reform initiatives. Romick was instrumental in implementing dramatic changes to help close the achievement gap in Dayton public schools. Here, Romick talks about the philosophy that informs his reform and union-management collaboration efforts. Continue reading →

Advice to New Teachers: Know Your Union

advice Young, new teachers always have that fresh, energetic look in their eyes. Ten years from now they will look back and be amazed at how little they knew, and how difficult that first year of teaching was. As a new teacher, politics and unions were the farthest things from my mind when I got my first job. I felt like I won the lottery after I got the call that I was hired. Now that I am older, I realize I was about to begin a journey where experience was my best teacher, and the union would be my best friend. Continue reading →

Budget Cuts Mean Cuts in Quality

cuts-in-quality Last night, I ventured into a whole new realm of public speaking, when I addressed the Ohio House Subcommittee on educational funding, at an open hearing in Lima. It was scary. I was on a stage, telling the story of my school district’s financial hardships, to a group of nine State Representatives. Although I had written and rehearsed my remarks, I had no idea what their reactions would be. I had no idea what follow-up questions they might ask. All I could do was tell my story. Continue reading →

Union Pride

educators-against-sb5 My mother always warned me not to be too prideful, not to gloat. Yet despite her warnings, I have decided to throw all cares to the wind and explain to you how proud I am to be a teacher, a veteran, and a union member. I knew going in to this job as a teacher […] Continue reading →

Share the World with Your Students

wave110412 Rob Fetters is the 2012 recipient of the NEA Applegate-Dorros Peace and International Understanding Award and the OEA Paul Swaddling Peace and International Understanding Award. Both awards recognize outstanding contributions to the promotion or execution of the cause of peace and international understanding. Here he challenges us to not lose sight of the rest of the world. Seek out opportunities for your students to explore beyond themselves. Continue reading →

CNN Story on Teacher Pay and Test Scores Misleads Readers

wrong-way Yesterday CNN’s blog, Schools of Thought, posted a story on teacher evaluations entitled, “Ohio links teacher pay to test scores.“ While not categorically untrue, this blog seriously misleads by simplification. The writer suggests that teacher evaluation legislation is sudden and the result of Governor Kasich’s efforts, when in fact, the development of a framework and […] Continue reading →

Brushing Teeth and Gathering Signatures

gerrymandering-district-9 Every morning my wife and I fight with my 2-year-old daughter, Ellie, to get her to brush her teeth. I think about the struggles I have with brushing Ellie’s teeth, as I work to collect signatures for the Voters First petition drive, which seeks to create a bi-partisan committee of non-elected officials to redraw US Congressional Districts. Many Ohioans don’t understand the need for the Voters First Amendment any more than Ellie understands the need for good oral hygiene. Continue reading →

Supporting Charter School Educators, Not Charter Schools

podium The delegates at the 2012 OEA Spring Representative Assembly made several important decisions this year. We elected a new Secretary Treasurer, Tim Myers of Elida EA. We supported the Voters First Initiative to reform the redistricting process to be fair, open and honest. And we also voted to begin organizing charters. One member opposed to the motion stated succinctly, “Can we organize teachers in the very schools we have advocated against?” The thought had crossed my mind as well. Continue reading →