Right to Work: Overworked and Underpaid

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. Continue reading →

Tao of the Sockless Floor

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 →

Is Our Population Standard Enough for Standardized Testing

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 →

Quitting is for Quitters

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 →

Right to Work: Don’t Trust It!

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 →

Fund Families Instead of the Common School System?

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 →

Support Those Who Support Us

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 →

Check Out Your School Library

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 →

We Are OEA — Our Education Association

When members ask what OEA is doing for them, it implies that OEA is an organization that provides a service for them in exchange for dues dollars. Certainly, OEA does provide services, like expertise in negotiations and labor disputes, as well as advocacy in political causes. However, that is not the essence of the relationship between OEA members and the organization itself. The “service model” is not OEA. OEA is not like a company that you hire to take care of your lawn, where you pay fees for mowing and fertilizing. Continue reading →