Unfortunately my enjoyment of spring is not all that it should be. It’s not reduced by bad weather or a stuffy head. It’s not reduced by something that occurs naturally, like rag weed or pollen. There’s something unnatural that creeps into my life every spring, ruining my mood on perfectly good spring days. That something is standardized testing.
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At 22 years old, right out of college, with several maxed-out credit cards, $50 to join the union seemed like too much to handle. Now, a dozen years later, I am the VP of my local association. I’m part of the negotiations team. I represent my local association at regional and state OEA events. I talk contractual rights with teachers most evenings and on weekends. What the heck happened to me? Electroshock treatment or a near-death experience? No, my involvement in my local has steadily increased over the past twelve years, and the more involved I have become, the more rewarding the experience has been.
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Thirty two of my colleagues will box up their personal items this June. Even though Issue 2 was defeated, the toll it has taken on teachers is evident. We get into the profession because of the noble work we can do for children, not because we consider teaching a great way to earn a buck or two. Issue 2 caused people to change the way they think about teaching. It’s a job now, not the rewarding career they used to know. They will have some cake and a few laughs, as they reminisce about the things they experienced throughout their careers. They’ll make jokes about how they never have to attend another in-service or proctor another test. It will be a bittersweet farewell in so many instances, as I consider how much my colleagues, my students and I will lose, with the departure of these exceptional educators. Continue reading →
My efforts alone are not enough to help my students be successful—everyone must work together for this to occur. In fact, all of us—teachers, students, parents and our elected officials should be held accountable for our students’ success. I could be the greatest teacher in the world, but if a student in my class chooses not to take my class seriously, if their parent can’t guarantee that their child attends school regularly or if our elected officials don’t consider students’ needs when making education policy decisions, the impact I have on my students could be neutralized. Continue reading →
The resulting news story appears to be intended to be alarmist, implying that cheating is rampant in our schools. It is fortunate that the journalists in Ohio at least have restrained from reporting the names of the specific schools flagged, since suspicions would have been unfairly cast on hundreds of improperly flagged schools. The irregularities in such schools likely arose simply because there was a large change in the actual students taking the test from year to year. Continue reading →
With the current funding crisis in mind, it’s hard for me to think about where, specifically, I’d like to see more money allocated for schools, because every facet of public schools is in need of more funding. We could use more teachers, newer computers, improved facilities, more supplies….the list is endless. Despite this long list, if I had to prioritize, there are a few integral areas where I would like schools to invest to help meet the needs of students. Continue reading →
School finance reform might not be an ideal topic for party conversation, but it is a very real concern for Ohio’s more than 600 traditional school districts. Ohio is the only state in the nation without a permanent school funding plan, and recent news reports indicate we won’t see a new one proposed until next year. Whatever plan is proposed must put students at the forefront and invest in classroom priorities that build the foundation for learning. Continue reading →
Despite the attacks on public education over the past year, teachers are still as committed as ever to helping all their students succeed. Read how one teachers shows his commitment through his lessons and by forging relationships. Continue reading →
The only way to turn around struggling schools is to work together — by demanding concrete changes that make low student achievement totally unacceptable for any group of students. Continue reading →
As Facebook has grown in popularity, so have its uses. Learn how a high school English teacher has brought his love of this social media site into the classroom and used it to connect with students and enhance their learning experience. Continue reading →