Our first community event was an education piece about school finance, because so many of the issues impacting schools, high stakes testing, unfunded mandates and vouchers have a financial component tied to them. For example, Jeff Fouke, Treasurer for Washington Local Schools, explained that his district receives $2,969 per student from the state, but pays $6,876 to a charter school when a child transfers out of Washington Local. This means that close to $4,000 in local taxes are diverted from public schools per child. Despite the depressing statistics, I left the evening full of hope, because the event itself was a success.
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There is a fair amount of discussion regarding the “Right to Work” initiative that is being debated in many states. In short, I have experienced this “right” firsthand. Before I taught science in Columbus City Schools, I was employed at a private, non-parochial school in Columbus, Ohio. There was no union.
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High stakes testing is like saying to your child, “I want you to clean your room. But, at the very least, I want you to pick up your socks.” For twenty years we’ve been teaching kids to pick up their socks. Our entire system is designed around that minimal level of achievement: our discipline policies, our attendance policies, our curriculum maps, our basic understanding of how schools operate. Everything is designed to get our kids to do the minimum. Continue reading →
We all wonder whether high-stakes standardized tests are “fair” to our students. Our students are unique individuals, yet on testing day with pencil in hand they are suddenly all the same. Whether they differ ethnically, racially, socioeconomically, no one seems to care. As an instructor in an urban school district, I see some of my students struggle greatly with terms and concepts on standardized tests that are not always directly related to the curriculum. Continue reading →
Veteran teachers are resigning in the face of overwhelming opposition to what it is they hold most dear and they’re getting out while their integrity is still intact. It’s all very poignant, powerful, and I don’t want to see any more of them. Research says it’s better to get fired than quit. Plus, if they’re going to chuck it all anyway, why not go out in style or at least go down swinging. They should fight for the profession instead. They’ll have a better time doing it and may end up helping to save public schooling. Continue reading →
A community power study can guide your local’s strategies and tactics during a campaign. This post examines how to make the most out of a power study and how to develop appropriate tactics to achieve your goals. It also develops a means of escalation that is tied to member involvement goals and the outcome of your tactical choices. Continue reading →
Whether it’s the “Workplace Freedom” initiative or so-called “Right to Work,” DON’T trust it! The words “freedom” or “right” may sound really positive, but they have completely different meanings for extremist legislators than they do for Ohio’s working families. Words have power. Important decisions are made on a daily basis, simply because of the choice of words, so people need to be careful not to be misled. Let’s look at this issue and see what it really means. Continue reading →
A member of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission indicated on August 8 that he wants school funds to be sent to families rather than school districts. The money-follows-the-child approach has been touted as a reform measure for several years. This idea/slogan, no doubt, has gained momentum by its frequent repetition by those who attempt to justify carving away the public common school system into the wood chips of education choice programs. Unless there is immediate push back to this privatization movement, the traditional public school districts will become a mere shell of the past. Continue reading →
If someone came to your door collecting money for a group that wanted to fight unions, hoping to create huge profits for corporations and keep worker pay low, would you get your wallet out? I know I wouldn’t, and I don’t think you would either. However, in a way, that ‘s what many of our members do every day when they shop at stores like Walmart. Continue reading →
You might be surprised to find that your library media center has jumped into the 21st century. While books still constitute the core element of any library, there are a variety of other items that can be checked out: Kindles, iPads, audiobooks, laptop carts, DVDs, class sets of books, ebooks, board games, math tools, and more. Your library staff is an excellent resource in itself. Continue reading →