By OEA Pres. Becky Higgins — The Testing Reduction Act (House Bill 239) sponsored by Reps. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, and Erica Crawley, D-Columbus, is bipartisan legislation that makes important changes to Ohio law to reduce state-required testing. OEA strongly supports this legislation.
Following our trip to Columbus, lawmakers didn’t immediately take action to change the amount of time spent on testing or the amount of money our school district received. Charter school accountability didn’t improve either. The next day, I went back to my classroom and legislators went back to their meetings and responsibilities as scheduled. To the untrained eye, it may seem that we didn’t accomplish much by participating in OEA Lobby Day. That’s flat-out wrong.
ALEC, which stands for American Legislative Exchange Council, is the most influential corporate-funded political force operating in America today, one that has worked to dilute collective bargaining rights and privatize public education. Yet ALEC is more or less unknown in teacher circles. ALEC creates legislation for elected officials to introduce in their states as their own brainchildren. ALEC’s strategy: “spread the unions thin ‘by playing offense’ with decoy legislation.” Spreading the unions thin has resulted in radical changes to classroom teachers’ everyday lives.
Who can keep it all straight? And yet, these acronyms represent things that will determine our teacher ratings and potentially our careers. When it came to determining how to implement these things, as it pertains to HB 555, there was no consultation with teachers. There was no “heads up” about the changes in this legislation. The only growth I can be sure will come from these changes is not student growth, but a growth of disenfranchisement from quality, hard-working teachers, who tried to get ahead of the changes coming in the fall, only to be tripped up by lawmakers.
Since August, I have been fully submerged in Campaign 2012. For three months, I basically put every aspect of my life on hold in order to focus on the election. I turned my fantasy football team over to a friend and took a sabbatical from my book club.
With the elections a month behind us, I have had a chance to spend some time with my family, take a few naps and reflect on the election results.
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.
The governor’s yet-to-be-unveiled education overhaul plan actually doesn’t belong to the governor so much as it belongs to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering acknowledged that Jackson’s plan contains many provisions that were “also in Senate Bill 5.” Jackson’s plan, says Lehner, “…takes the best of Senate Bill 5.” Rather than speak with the Cleveland Teachers Union about his transformation plan, Mayor Jackson held back-door conversations with city’s business community. Instead of putting teachers at the table, Jackson’s plan puts them on the menu.
If you have any questions about House Bill 1, the educational provisions contained in it, or its implementation, please post them here. Lottery Funds: What happened to the money and how much is going to schools? Since 1974, the Ohio …