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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 →

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 →

Politics: the alternative to burnout

Burnout It’s all too easy for educators to get bogged down in the morass of day-to-day classroom requirements, focusing only on the most immediate tasks. However, I’m hoping that teachers take the time to step back, see the bigger picture, and refocus their energies on systemic change that will eventually lead to better public school environments for students and staff — putting energy and effort into questioning the status quo and changing the political situation. The alternative is burning out by trying to rise to mandates that are deemed “education reform.” Continue reading →

Resources for Women’s History Month on Pinterest

whm-pinterest Being new to Pinterest, which advertises itself as “a tool for collecting and organizing things you love,” I was curious to see what it had to offer on women’s history month, the month that honors women and their accomplishments. Pinterest is an online pinboard, a visual take on the social bookmarking site. Unlike other social bookmarking sites, such as Digg and StumbleUpon, content shared on Pinterest is driven entirely by visuals. In fact, you can’t share something on Pinterest unless an image is involved. You will be amazed at the information you can find by searching through the boards. Here is a list of some of the best boards for women’s history month resources. Continue reading →
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