OEA on the Issues

Download OEA’s complete Legislative Policies as adopted at the December 2016 OEA Representative Assembly.

OEA Supports:

  • a school funding system that includes a sound method for calculating the base cost of an adequate education for all children and a distribution formula that is fair to all school districts. The school funding system must cover the costs, including state and federal mandates, associated with educating all categories of students and ensuring that all students attend school in safe, healthy environments and in facilities that are structurally sound and technologically ready. Ohio has a constitutional responsibility to fund a thorough and efficient system of public education;
  • the creation of a state commission to monitor school funding in Ohio and ensure that adequate resources are in place to support high-quality teaching and learning;
  • the development of an objective method for determining an adequate formula amount that is tied to the actual costs of students’ instructional needs;
  • a formula that decreases the reliance on local property taxes while providing opportunity for inflationary growth in local school district revenues;
  • the enactment of a separate education budget enacted prior to the remainder of the state budget;
  • a school funding system that will distribute state funds with fairness and equity for all districts and students, allowing for self-determination through local control and ensuring that local districts retain the ability to supplement the state educational program without losing state aid;
  • a system that provides replacement revenues to school districts due to major changes in the state tax law such as the loss of tangible personal property tax revenues;
  • adequate funding to the Ohio Department of Education to effectively develop, implement and evaluate legislatively-mandated education policies;
  • providing adequate state funding for County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, joint vocational schools, Educational Service Centers and Ohio’s Schools for the Deaf and Blind;
  • the creation of elementary specialists as a new category for elementary art, music, physical education, and technology teachers;
  • additional state funding to meet the requirements by each school district for excess program costs;
  • the principle that all school audits should be paid for by the state;
  • promoting gender equity in the use of state funds for public schools;
  • necessary state funding to cover all net costs of the College Credit Plus program to ensure equitable access for eligible K-12 students.
  • a tax system that is fair, equitable and capable of generating sufficient resources to adequately fund state programs and produce a strong state economy;
  • a system of inside millage that allows for local revenue growth beyond the growth due to new construction;
  • state provided replacement revenue for school districts due to major changes in the state tax law such as the loss of tangible personal property tax revenues;
  • the repeal of state legislation which imposes unfunded mandates and set asides on local districts, provides unfair tax loopholes or giveaways, and shelters corporations and high income individuals from paying taxes;
  • retaining the option of a local income tax for school district operations;
  • due diligence by the Ohio General Assembly in making tax changes including a fiscal analysis of the impact of any change once the elimination of a tax is complete.

OEA Opposes:

  • basing school funding on test scores or report card data;
  • the use of taxpayer money for private school vouchers and tuition tax credits.
  • any tax change that will detrimentally impact Ohio’s public schools, colleges or universities, and county boards of developmental disabilities;
  • the Ohio General Assembly enacting tax changes that could hinder the ability of local entities to pass local levies;
  • allowing local tax changes that are a result of an agreement between local government and school district officials or without an impact study where the districts had a major role in the decision-making process.

OEA Supports:

  • a thorough and independent evaluation on the academic and fiscal effectiveness of existing voucher programs;
  • a moratorium on the expansion of current voucher programs or the creation of new ones.

OEA Opposes:

  • voucher plans and tuition tax credits to parents under which private school tuition is financed by public funds.

OEA Supports:

  • accountability measures that accelerate the process for closing failing charter schools;
  • fiscal accountability measures that require any public moneys returned to the state by a charter school, as a result of an audit by the Auditor of State, the Ohio Department of Education, or any other authorized agency, to be distributed back to school districts;
  • verification of charter school per-pupil funding claims/enrollment counts by allowing ODE to know the identity of the student associated with each Statewide Student Identifier (SSID) number in the Education Management Information System;
  • ensuring that charter schools, including governing boards, sponsors and operators, are subject to the same public records laws and financial transparency standards as any other public entity;
  • a system of funding charter schools in a way that doesn’t penalize traditional public schools, e.g. direct state funding instead of “pass through” funding;
  • requiring charter schools to meet the following criteria:
    • have open admission policies;
    • be tuition-free;
    • be nonsectarian in their programs, admission policies, affiliations, employment practices, and all other operations;
    • be fiscally accountable and subject to the same federal and state audit requirements as other public elementary and secondary schools in the state;
    • have clear objectives, missions, and goals for which they are periodically assessed and held accountable to the public;
    • directly involve school employees in their program design, implementation, and governance;
    • meet the needs of at-risk students and those requiring special education services;
    • have adequate start-up resources and funding mechanisms that do not harm traditional public school districts or schools within districts;
    • meet equivalent safety and health standards as required for existing public schools;
    • comply with all federal, state, and local laws and policies regarding due process, nondiscrimination, and equal educational opportunity;
    • have a teaching force that is subject to the same teacher licensure, evaluation and “highly qualified” statutes/regulations as teachers in traditional public schools;
    • operate on the basis of voluntary participation by students, faculty, and staff;
    • ensure the same or equivalent collective bargaining rights provided other public school employees under state law;
    • comply with the regular, periodic assessment and evaluation of student academic achievement, including state mandated assessments; and
    • use the transportation system of the public school district in which they are located, unless the district agrees otherwise in conjunction with any impacted employee unions;
  • providing high-quality educational services to all preschool, elementary and secondary school children in Ohio;
  • restricting public funding for a non‑public school or charter school to a level that does not exceed corresponding funding for those services to the residing school district;
  • requiring all non‑public schools and charter schools receiving assistance from public funds to meet the same accountability and transparency standards as school districts;
  • retention of ownership by the public of all educational materials, equipment and facilities that are purchased with public funds by a non-public school or charter school;
  • requiring any non‑public school that receives assistance from public funds to be fully audited by the Auditor of State’s office on the same basis as public school districts and charter schools;
  • requiring that any non‑public school or charter school receiving assistance from public funds to have a fully open admission policy that only utilizes the legal authorities for non-admittance, suspension and expulsion of students as is allowable under law for school districts;
  • removing the Big 8 urban school districts from the permanent definition of “challenged” school district, which permanently authorizes new “start-up” charter schools in these districts regardless of their academic ranking;
  • requiring the Ohio Department of Education and Auditor of State to conduct on-site evaluations/audits for all charter schools at least every three years to confirm that sponsors and operators are in compliance with all required assurances/charter terms and state accountability and transparency laws, with a follow-up report highlighting any deficiencies and recommendations for improving or closing the school;
  • requiring that a majority of the schools associated with a sponsor or operator must be performing at a level of ”C” or better before they are authorized to sponsor or operate additional schools;
  • formation of a work group with representatives from all public education stakeholder groups for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive analysis of the overall operation and performance of charter schools and reporting its findings and making legislative recommendations to the General Assembly;
  • full legal access to all files retained by national charter school sponsors and operators;
  • including the performance of charter school sponsors and operators by the Ohio Department of Education in its the annual report on charter schools;
  • high-quality academic and financial reporting requirements for charter school governing boards, sponsors and operators, with enforcement mechanisms for failure to comply;
  • enforcement mechanisms that hold charter schools accountable when they fail to test students as required by law;
  • requiring that any unreported report card data by a charter school be logged as a zero until the required data is provided;
  • enforcement mechanisms for charter schools that fail to timely provide a school district the academic data of a student transferring from a charter school to a district school;
  • the creation of conversion charter schools where educators are members of a bargaining unit and, thus, retain the salary, benefits and due process rights of educators in the sponsoring school district.

OEA Opposes:

  • providing state or local funding assistance to private corporations and/or individuals for the establishment and operation of charter schools for profit;
  • exempting “drop-out prevention” charter schools from the charter school closure law;
  • allowing students to transfer from a traditional public school building to a lower ranked charter school building, while allowing for reasonable exceptions;
  • providing charter schools the first option to purchase school district property suitable for classroom space that is offered for sale.

OEA Supports:

  • a higher education funding system that is focused on undergraduate education and provides annual increases to ease parent and student costs of tuition and fees;
  • the right of each student to attend a program of higher education beyond the twelfth grade;
  • increased state basic funding to all colleges or universities;
  • adequate state funding of professional development programs for all college/university personnel;
  • a standard accounting and reporting system by higher education institutions in reports to the higher education institutions in reports to the higher education governing authority;
  • declaring all records, except those of students and personnel as provided by the state statutes on privacy and personnel records, of the Ohio Board of Regents and all state colleges and universities to be public record and available to the public;
  • shortening the term of trustees of institutions of higher education to a term not to exceed five years;
  • requiring full and complete financial disclosure of all trustees as currently required of most other public officials;
  • providing statutory restrictions which would prohibit trustees from voting or exercising influence in potential conflict of interest situations and requiring, as a part of the record, the existence of any such potential conflict;
  • providing procedures which would emphasize the need for trustees with qualifications requisite of the duties of the office (while deemphasizing partisanship of the appointment procedure) and who reflect social, economic, racial and gender balance;
  • establishing procedures to recall members of boards of trustees of state colleges and universities;
  • the promotion of articulation agreements between secondary and post- secondary institutions (as well as between different post-secondary institutions) when the content of those agreements has been determined by educators from both sectors;
  • the right of adjunct, limited service and part-time higher education faculty to bargain wages, hours and working conditions;
  • the expansion of the Ohio Transfer Module to include the course offerings of all colleges or universities in Ohio;
  • the establishment of a state fund for reducing student debt on a means tested basis;
  • the principle that faculty evaluation should be left to each individual college or university;
  • the growing online availability of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and would support awarding of a limited number of credit hours for the satisfactory completion of MOOCs if there is prior consultation with faculty and the student pays the regular tuition rate for the credit hours earned;
  • an increase in Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) funding including the requirement that the Pell/EFC grant is applied first toward the cost of attendance (tuition, general fees, books and transportation) before applying OCOG;
  • the concept of providing state need-based block grants to private, non-profit (but not for-profit) institutions for use in awarding aid to need-based students;
  • increased funding for future teacher scholarships and grants.

OEA Supports:

  • academic standards that provide high-quality education for students statewide;
  • a broad and rigorous curriculum that encourages critical thinking, inspires curiosity and challenges every student to learn and grow;
  • a curriculum that includes instruction in art, music, physical education, health, career-technology education, vocational education, family and consumer sciences, and foreign/world/classical languages;
  • requiring special subjects to be taught respective subject;
  • guaranteeing access to music, art and physical education for students with disabilities with their non-disabled peers;
  • maintaining student access to school counseling, library/media, nursing and other services that support a well-rounded curriculum;
  • providing appropriate education for those students identified as gifted;
  • including teachers in the development, approval and adoption of revisions to the curriculum;
  • teacher participation in the selection and evaluation of distance learning coursework;
  • maintaining the option of local school districts to create non-traditional schools to meet specific curriculum needs;
  • keeping requirements of law concerning curriculum and classroom teaching methods to a minimum;
  • requiring that teachers are involved in the credit flexibility options offered in local school district;
  • state support provided to aid in the establishment of local school-to-work programs;
  • the direct involvement of all school employees in the design, implementation and governance of non-traditional school options;
  • requiring consistent minimum standards of college readiness for student placement in College Credit Plus courses;
  • limiting College Credit Plus participation to college-ready students in grades 9-12 only;
  • requiring the collection of relevant data to evaluate whether the College Credit Plus program is meeting student needs and operating effectively.

OEA Opposes:

  • legislative mandates for more academic rigor that do not provide the resources to sustain those standards;
  • restrictions on academic freedom or free speech in the classroom;
  • the waiver of physical education credits for participation in other school programs such as band, cheerleading, sports or Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC).

OEA Supports:

  • access to early childhood education programs regardless of income, including Head Start and other pre-kindergarten programs for children-at-risk;
  • preschool opportunities for three and four year old children including children with disabilities;
  • early childhood education services taught by certified/licensed personnel;
  • state and federal resources for programs that enhance school readiness and support early childhood initiatives;
  • all day every day kindergarten and the resources necessary to implement and maintain the program;
  • providing adequate time and resources for the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) to minimize loss of learning time;
  • requiring completion of a reliable developmental assessment before admission to kindergarten;
  • granting the option of early entry to kindergarten to children who successfully complete the developmental assessment but who have not reached the age requirement;
  • attendance in an early literacy program for children who do not satisfactorily complete the developmental assessments and who have reached the age requirement.

OEA Supports:

  • providing educational opportunities and services for students with disabilities as well as the identified accommodations, supports and resources as outlined in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP);
  • development, maintenance and support of health care and nutrition programs for children and students;
  • providing elementary and secondary school counseling, school psychology, school social work and other pupil services;
  • establishing cooperative administrative and curriculum structures to facilitate effective integration of guidance and counseling into the entire education experience;
  • in-service training for counselors in areas such as conflict resolution, peer mediation, goal setting, self-discipline, improved self-image, decision making, and acceptance of responsibility;
  • elementary school counselor services for all elementary students including conflict resolution, peer mediation, goal setting, self-discipline, improved self-image, decision making, and acceptance of responsibility;
  • school health services provided by certified/licensed school nurses;
  • that all health care and nursing procedures within the school environment be the domain of the certified/licensed school nurse consistent with the Ohio Nurse Practice Act and policies of the Ohio Board of Nursing;
  • providing medically fragile students with professional and skilled treatments delivered in a clean and private setting;
  • certified/licensed library media specialist services in each elementary and secondary school;
  • full bargaining unit and continuing contract status for certified school nurses.

OEA Opposes:

  • assigning school employees other than certified/licensed school nurses to perform health care/nursing services.

OEA Supports:

  • legislation that reduces class size with the ultimate goal of a maximum class size of 15 students per classroom teacher for grades pre-K through 3, 20 per classroom teacher for grades 4 through 6, 22 per classroom teacher for grades 7 through 12;
  • legislation that supports appropriately smaller class sizes for programs that serve students with exceptional needs, including children with disabilities and English language learners;
  • school staffing ratios of special instructional support personnel such as school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, school social workers, school librarians/media specialists, and speech/language pathologists to students at the levels recommended by nationally recognized professional organizations;
  • a methodology that weights each special education student mainstreamed in all classes per disability;
  • limiting early childhood classes in DD programs to six students with two full-time staff, one of which must be a certified/licensed teacher;
  • policy that assigns pupils to classrooms and instructional areas in accordance with physical capacity of the building as defined by state standards.

OEA Supports:

  • a system of realistically high standards for student learning, a curriculum that is aligned to those standards, assessment instruments that are valid, reliable and age-appropriate, all supported by adequate resources needed for successful development and implementation;
  • assessment programs that focus on helping students, teachers, schools, and school districts succeed rather than using the results for the purpose of punishing students, teachers, schools, and school districts;
  • assessments of student learning and proficiency that provide timely feedback to students and teachers and that are used to inform instruction and student learning;
  • evaluation of student learning as a continuous process consisting of multiple measures linked to the curriculum and relevant standards;
  • assessment alternatives to standardized testing that assess students at their functioning level, regardless of developmental differences and special needs, including limited English proficiency;
  • school accountability systems based on multiple forms of evidence that accurately reflect the broad range of student learning and are used to support students and improve schools;
  • assessment systems designed to prioritize student engagement in learning activities and minimize time spent on testing and test preparation;
  • state funding and assistance in conducting testing audits at the district level to help eliminate assessments that are low-quality or duplicative;
  • assessment systems that support whole-child learning and development in a way that does not narrow curriculum or over emphasize test preparation;
  • locally determined decisions on student grade-level retention that are determined based on student needs rather than performance on a single test;
  • providing for a phase-in of the graduation requirements for students taking end-of-course exams;
  • providing remedial programs for high school graduates in need of additional skills to attend institutions of higher education;
  • restricting the use of value-added data to appropriate diagnostic purposes that support student learning and school improvement;
  • requiring that the assessments from which value-added data is derived are valid, reliable and aligned to Ohio’s academic content standards;
  • requiring the state to provide for an appropriate technology infrastructure and software tools to support the collection, disaggregation and analysis of value-added data;
  • providing teachers and administrators high-quality professional development and adequate time within the school day/year for training on appropriate methods of using value-added data as a diagnostic tool to improve student achievement;
  • the availability of state resources and technical support to assist teachers, schools and districts in the implementation and appropriate use of value-added data;
  • providing parents/guardians and community members information regarding the interpretation and use of value-added information to assess student progress and school performance, including the appropriate uses and limitations of value-added data;
  • protecting the rights of parents who choose to opt their children out of standardized testing and supports informing parents of the potential consequences under law.

OEA Opposes:

  • assessments of student learning or proficiency-testing programs, vendor-based assessments and locally-developed assessments to evaluate teacher or principal performance or for high-stakes employment decisions;
  • assigning letter grades to schools and school districts on the report cards issued through the state accountability system;
  • using value-added data as a punitive measure for students, teachers and school districts;
  • using value-added data as the singular basis for instructional or other educational decisions and as the basis for high stakes decisions about schools, students or teachers, including decisions about teacher evaluation, licensure and/or compensation;
  • public records access to teacher-identifiable student test scores, including student growth measures such as value-added.
  • sanctions and/or penalties against students, education professionals, schools and districts when parents exercise their rights to opt their children out of standardized testing.

OEA Supports:

  • teacher evaluation systems focused on instructional improvement and that includes multiple and variable sources of data on teacher performance;
  • providing multiple resources to support struggling teachers, including formal or informal peer assistance programs, creating time for teachers to observe and provide feedback to one another and if necessary, intensive intervention, support and individualized professional development;
  • requiring that teacher evaluators be selected based on established criteria and receive regular recalibration training, continuous professional development and regular assessment of effectiveness;
  • creating teacher evaluation systems that directly link to and inform the professional development system and other systems linked to teaching and learning conditions.
  • fair and effective provisions for the periodic evaluation of the competency of all full‑and part‑time higher education faculty;
  • proper notification and adequate opportunity for correction of deficiencies in a teacher’s evaluation during employment;
  • due process either in the case of dismissal or non‑renewal, including the right to specific and detailed reasons in writing, a hearing, counsel, and appeal;
  • regularly reviewing the efficacy of the teacher evaluation system, including formal roles and responsibilities for teachers in developing, implementing and providing continuous feedback.

OEA Opposes:

  • using value-added data or any other student growth or achievement measure as the singular basis for instructional or other educational decisions and as the basis for high stakes decisions about schools, students or teachers, including decisions about teacher evaluation, licensure and/or compensation.

OEA Supports:

  • funding for school districts that choose to have school resource officers or local law enforcement in school buildings;
  • greater access and assistance for mental health services for students, including support from social workers, psychologists, nurses, counselors and other student service professionals, as part of a comprehensive program to prevent school violence;
  • firm, fair, and consistent policies and programs that address disruptive behavior, bullying, crime, physical and verbal abuse, sexual harassment, all forms of discrimination in order to provide a safe and secure environment;
  • programs that establish and support safe learning environments that are free of crime, drug use, and other disruptions;
  • requiring that all school districts adopt policies to address student bullying and provide for intervention for those involved;
  • collaborative community programs to increase citizen and business group involvement in assisting and reclaiming youth who display disruptive or violent behavior and/or who have dropped out of school;
  • providing civil immunity to school employees for an injury to a student that is caused by enforcing school discipline when those school employees are acting in accord with school district policies and within the course and scope of employment;
  • requiring school administrators to report to the proper law enforcement authority and to the appropriate state agency any employee injuries that are student inflicted in the course of employment or damage to the personal property of a school employee;
  • classifying the penalty for assault on any school employee as a felony;
  • requiring school districts to report incidents of sexual harassment, violence and crime committed on school grounds to the Ohio Department of Education and other appropriate agencies;
  • providing effective incentives that reinforce the importance of student attendance and appropriate consequences for truancy;
  • eliminating the authority of school districts to apply an out-of-school suspension to students ages nine and under unless the student brings a weapon to school, makes a bomb threat, or commits a criminal offense that results in serious physical harm to persons or property while the student is at school, on school grounds or at a school sponsored activity;
  • policy that requires a local school district to allow students who have been suspended an opportunity to make up missed school work;
  • alternative education programs for all children identified incapable of operating effectively in the school settings available in that district;
  • providing appropriate education programs for pupils who are charged and convicted of assaulting a school employee;
  • expunging all records relating to complaints charging an employee with a criminal matter if through the legal process no criminal act is determined to have occurred;
  • uniform and adequate investigation procedures for law enforcement to follow when investigating charges prior to filing complaints charging an employee with criminal activity in any matter relating to the person’s employment;
  • the requirement of court findings and decisions concerning a juvenile offender be provided to the principal and affected staff members for the purpose of planning a relevant school program;
  • requiring all schools that serve as election sites to have a written policy and procedure to restrict public access to only those areas where the polling is occurring;
  • funding from the state of County Boards of Elections in order to cover the costs of additional security measures that are necessary to ensure the safety of student, authorized visitors and education employees when a school is unable to restrict access to only areas where polling is occurring;
  • the development of procedures to inform local, state and federal agencies regarding juvenile justice and delinquency.

OEA Opposes:

  • teachers and other school employees serving a dual role as educators and school safety personnel armed with weapons during the school days and/or at school sponsored activities;
  • school discipline policies that apply pre-determined consequences without taking into account associated circumstances for issues that do not involve deadly weapons;
  • discriminatory enforcement of school discipline policies.

OEA Supports:

  • assigning a teacher only to a position for which the teacher holds a valid, current teaching certificate/license;
  • an adequately funded, independent, policy making Educator Standards Board with the legal responsibility of determining policy and procedures for teacher
  • certification/licensure, approval of teacher certification/licensure programs, determining the national accreditation program(s) to be used in Ohio, and approval of programs designed to improve teacher education;
  • maintaining and strengthening the Educator Standards Board for elementary and secondary education in Ohio;
  • establishing and maintaining a majority membership of elementary and secondary public school teachers on the Educator Standards Board;
  • ensuring high-quality educator preparation programs, refining educator preparation program curricula, promoting collaborative learning between Pre K-12 and teacher preparation faculty, and funding school-university partnerships for educator preparation;
  • developing compensation models that encourage recruitment and retention of highly-qualified educators;
  • including Pre K-12 educators and postsecondary faculty on accreditation review teams and improving the quality of fast-track preparation programs according to research on educator effectiveness and retention;
  • ensuring that beginning educators get the support they need through trained mentors, including time and space to meet and observe practice, respecting the confidential nature of the mentor-beginning educator relationship, and keeping instructional mentoring and evaluation separate in policy and practice;
  • ensuring Ohio’s Resident Educator program is structured to support student success through the continued growth and development of educators’ teaching practice;
  • ensuring that any early-career assessment (such as RESA) that determines future professional licensure include specific, targeted, meaningful feedback that supports the educator in attaining his or her professional license and that all assessments used for this purpose be scored fairly and reliably;
  • requiring training in the issues of sexual harassment and gender equity as part of teacher certification/licensure;
  • issuing temporary licenses for a limited period, during which time requirements for conversion to full state licensure shall be completed;
  • requiring early childhood certification/licensure by the State Department of Education for teachers in this area;
  • reimbursement to any teacher for course work mandated to maintain or upgrade certificates/licenses;
  • granting teachers paid leave time to attend classes necessary to maintain certification/licensure;
  • granting paid release time for mentoring training sessions, residency and Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) programs;
  • uniform and adequate investigative and hearing procedures for the State Department of Education to follow when investigating charges that could lead to suspension of a school employee’s certificate/license for “conduct unbecoming the position held”;
  • providing quality instruction by requiring properly certified/licensed teachers in all areas including early childhood education, art, music, physical education, special education, computer education, and gifted programs;
  • requiring special subjects to be taught by teachers who are certified/licensed in the respective subject;
  • licensed/certified tutors of students in specific learning disability and emotionally disabled programs, whether as individuals or in small groups, being recognized legally as teachers, guaranteed parity with other teachers, and recognized as fully covered by all terms and conditions of the local teacher association contract;
  • separate and defined licensing for school bus operators, including examinations and supplemental licensing requirements that reasonably fit the criteria for the performance of duty.

OEA Opposes:

  • requiring excessive paperwork or time-consuming, high-stakes assessments in any early-career mentoring or licensure program that detracts from educators’ ability to provide high quality instruction to students;
  • outsourcing of defined certificated bargaining unit positions through the post-secondary enrollment option program in all of OEA’s affiliates during the defined duty day on any public school campus;
  • local school boards using private contract employment to provide instruction, support, health, or other services for which a teaching certificate/license is required, including the use of any outside agencies in place of certificated school nurses or school wellness coordinators;
  • higher education institutions subcontracting bargaining unit work out to the private sector;
  • any mandate that education employees incur the costs of expanded background checks related to licensure/certification;
  • reviews of records in licensure/certification background checks that are irrelevant to the individual’s job qualifications or trustworthiness with children, such as civil litigation and motor vehicle records of a teacher.

OEA Supports:

  • state required professional development programs that are well aligned and promote professional growth for teachers and administrators;
  • providing adequate state funding for professional development programs;
  • job-embedded professional development as an integral part of the school day;
  • basing in-service programs on the expressed professional development needs of educators;
  • ongoing professional development that builds and increases educators’ cultural competence including awareness of one’s own implicit biases, understanding culturally competent pedagogy, and becoming culturally responsive in one’s approach to education and discipline;
  • providing state support for applicants wishing to obtain National Board Certification and stipends for those achieving National Board Certification for as long as they maintain it;
  • the Educator Standards Board having the responsibility to define “master teacher”;
  • awarding teachers Local Professional Development Committee credit for completion of the master teacher application process, regardless of whether a teacher earns the designation;
  • determining changes in working conditions or compensation based on the master teacher designation through the collective bargaining process.
  • providing educators with evidence-based training and resources to fulfill the educational, cultural and linguistic needs of students who are English learners.

OEA Opposes:

  • requiring the master teacher or similar designation for maintaining the professional license of individual educators.

OEA Supports:

  • providing staffing of educational support personnel for grades Pre-K to 12 and in Developmental Disabilities programs at an appropriate ratio;
  • evaluating ESPs according to established criteria and providing feedback, training and professional development opportunities that support continuous improvement in performance;
  • providing adequate state funding for maintaining older school buses and support for the purchase of new school buses;

OEA Opposes:

  • all forms of privatization/outsourcing of ESP job classifications, a practice that puts student safety at risk and undermines the continuity, quality and cost-effectiveness of services;
  • using private busing companies, but if they are used, they must comply with the same state safety regulations, maintenance schedules, bus driver licensure and background check requirements that apply to buses operated by school districts.

OEA Supports:

  • the fundamental right of all public and private employees to bargain collectively for the hours, wages and other terms and conditions of employment;
  • the fundamental right of adjunct, graduate assistant, limited service and part‑time higher education faculty to bargain collectively for the hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment;
  • strong enforcement of Ohio’s collective bargaining law and efforts to strengthen and expand employee rights and the scope of bargaining in law;
  • maintaining the right to strike as the best final dispute resolution process;
  • maintaining statutory authority to bargain for the collection of fair-share fees from individuals in a bargaining unit who are non-members of the union/local association;
  • crediting student attendance to students kept out of school by parents or otherwise not in attendance on days schools are declared opened during an association strike;
  • full bargaining unit status for all school nurses.

OEA Opposes:

  • efforts to restrict, undermine or eliminate the rights of employees or the scope of bargaining under Ohio’s collective bargaining law;
  • public education employers raising substitute employees’ salaries during or in anticipation of strikes in order to perform the duties of regular employees;
  • restrictions or other negative impacts on the accepted scope of membership for existing and potential employee bargaining units.

OEA Supports:

  • salaries for educational employees which will attract and retain highly qualified personnel;
  • a state minimum annual teacher salary of $40,000 indexed to inflation;
  • state minimum teacher salary schedule for a 180-day school year that requires annual salary staff increases based on years of teaching, education attainment/training, level of licensure, and which includes a system of career steps to upgrade the status and respect for the profession;
  • a salary schedule for education support professionals that provides a fair living wage, with wage increases for years of experience and attainment of higher
  • education/training, and which establishes higher wages for positions that require employees to have certain levels of higher education or pass a content knowledge assessment in order to attain a state license/permit, e.g. educational aide
  • permits/educational paraprofessional licenses for educational assistants;
  • salary levels that support retention of education personnel throughout their career;
  • a per diem compensation for SCOPE bargaining unit teachers equivalent to that being offered to public school teachers;
  • requiring public education employers to pay employee salaries prior to other debts;
  • state support for the cost of substitute teachers;
  • a reduction in the number of days a substitute must teacher in one assignment before being placed on the salary schedule;
  • requiring public education employers to adjust an employee’s salary immediately any time during a school year when the individual becomes eligible for a higher salary due to attainment of a higher training level;
  • granting credit to SCOPE bargaining unit employees for military service under the same provisions that cover public school teachers;
  • requiring employers to withhold state income taxes for education employees who reside in other states;
  • a fund for teacher candidate loans by the State of Ohio to provide scholarship loans for outstanding graduate and undergraduate students in the colleges of education with provisions for loan forgiveness, providing said students teach in the state for a minimum of five years.

OEA Opposes:

  • release of public records which pertain to the private use of employee salaries, e.g. funds contributed to 403-B annuities, loan payments, political contributions, etc.;
  • requirement that certification of availability of funds be attached to any new salary schedule;
  • legislation mandating or incentivizing the use of so-called merit/performance pay systems for educators.

OEA Supports:

  • access to affordable, high-quality health care for public education employees;
  • requiring school districts and other public employers to have a competitive bidding process for health insurance benefits and plan administration;
  • requiring the public disclosure of costs associated with plan administration, including broker commissions;
  • encouraging health care plans to offer wellness programs, disease management and access to specialized services as a means to maintain quality and control costs;
  • subject to bargaining, allowing school districts and other public employers to opt-in to health insurance plans offered for state employees;
  • a comprehensive state system of workers’ compensation in which political subdivisions are contributing employers;
  • considering alcohol and drug addiction as an illness under the law;
  • term life insurance coverage paid for by public education employers;
  • requiring public education employers to reimburse a school staff member in the case of physical or property damage claims resulting from activities related to his or her employment;
  • assault leave for affected public employees;
  • religious leave for all public education employees;
  • provisions of severance pay for higher education faculty that are equivalent to those covering pre-k to 12 faculty and staff.

OEA Opposes:

  • mandatory health care pooling that fails to provide collective bargaining rights of employees, choice of plans, and at least equal labor representation on the managing entity of the pool.

OEA Supports:

  • continuation of defined benefit pension plans for current and future public employees;
  • allowing defined contribution plans to be offered as an option for employees;
  • ensuring benefits are reliable and adequate to provide economic security in retirement;
  • maintaining an appropriate cost-of-living adjustment for retirees;
  • continuation of survivor and death benefits in the pension program;
  • requiring that the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS), the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), and the School Employees Retirement System (SERS) retirement boards consist of a majority of active members elected by the active membership of the retirement system;
  • the fiduciary responsible “prudent person rule” as the guideline for investments and other decisions made by the state retirement system boards;
  • allowing purchase of service credit for any approved leave of absence at the full actuarial cost of the benefit;
  • exclusion of all or a portion of an individual’s annual pension from all Ohio public retirement systems from the payment of Ohio personal income taxes.

OEA Opposes:

  • reduction or suspension of employer contributions to the retirement systems;
  • attempts by the legislature to direct retirement system investments or encroach on the fiduciary responsibility of the retirement systems;
  • reductions in pension benefits or increase in employee contribution rates unless such a plan is necessary to maintain the long-term solvency of pension benefits, is adopted by the retirement system board and has support of active and retiree member organizations;
  • changes in the pension program that jeopardize the long-term solvency of the retirement system;
  • exclusion or carve outs of public employees from participation in the appropriate public retirement system;
  • efforts to reassign members to a different retirement system for reasons other than certification/ licensure.

OEA Support:

  • protecting students and the due process rights of public education employees;
  • a system of fair and effective due process rights and procedures for non-renewal or termination of an employment contract;
  • the availability of tenure/continuing contracts for all public education employees;
  • protecting the rights of laid off employees;
  • full unemployment compensation eligibility and the right to substitute teach without losing such eligibility;
  • tenure rights for public higher education faculty members;
  • statutory protection for higher education faculty concerning unfair administrative practices and unfair layoff or dismissal;
  • minimum contract protection for higher education faculty members that is comparable to those available to public elementary and secondary teachers;
  • public access to formal/official disciplinary actions taken against educators by the Ohio Department of Education and/or the State Board of Education if a result of
    • a criminal violation established in a court of law that authorizes the State Board of Education to take action against an educator’s license/certificate, or;
    • a substantiated finding of professional misconduct established by an official investigation by Ohio Department of Education officials that ensures all due process and appeal rights provided by law.
  • efficient and effective mechanisms for educators to challenge the accuracy of information related to their state disciplinary record and all information determined to be inaccurate, false, or otherwise misleading, should be immediately removed from records available to the public;
  • uniform and adequate investigation procedures for law enforcement bodies;
  • expunging all records relating to criminal allegations if, through the legal process, no criminal act is determined to have occurred;
  • the right of privileged communication between public employees and their union representatives regarding grievances, disciplinary matters, and other employment issues.

OEA Opposes:

  • the loss of a public education employee’s status with regard to contracts, pay scales, benefits, or any other employment rights, terms and conditions, as a result of being transferred or reassigned due to the reorganization of the public education employer and/or program(s);
  • limits on the percentage of professional higher education faculty who may acquire tenure;
  • public access to unsubstantiated information and unproven allegations against an educator, i.e. allegations resulted in no formal/official disciplinary action by the Ohio Department of Education or the State Board of Education;
  • arresting any school employee accused by a student of criminal acts prior to the issuance of a grand jury indictment;
  • diminishing, diluting or otherwise undermining the availability and rights of
  • tenure/continuing contracts for public education employees;
  • any mass screening procedures such as polygraphs or blood, urine, or other medical tests to be administered to school employees.

OEA Supports:

  • payment of fair living wage that supports the cost of basic needs and is indexed to inflation;
  • payment of prevailing wages on construction projects financed in whole or in part with state funds.

OEA Supports:

  • policies and initiatives that ensure fair and open elections and strengthen the influence of citizens in the political arena;
  • allowing for special elections in February and August;
  • a redistricting process that produces fair, competitive districts and limits the ability of one party to seek political advantage;
  • allowing for online voter registration;
  • policies that allow broad participation of union membership in the democratic process such as dues check off on membership forms for political action;
  • full citizenship rights for educators, including the right to serve as members of any board, council, commission, or like body and to voluntarily contribute to political action committees and/or campaigns, work on political campaigns, and participate in and/or solicit for political partisan fundraising activities outside of school work hours;
  • political leave for public education employees who are candidates for public office or who are elected or appointed to such positions.

OEA Opposes:

  • strict voter identification laws that may result in citizens losing access to the polls.

OEA opposes “right to work” legislation. “Right to Work” laws undermine workers’ safety, economic security and well-being. The true goal of right to work is to put more money into the pockets of corporate shareholders. The consequence of these purposes, whether intended or unintended, is a diminished middle class.

Supporters of so-called “right to work” laws argue that they advocate for a cause whose noble aim is to advance personal liberty and promote economic growth. They wield buzz words like “freedom” and “choice” for their messaging. They opine that too many workers needlessly suffer because corporate America cannot free itself from the shackles of greedy labor unions. A non-critical eye may see a movement that champions freedom and offers hope. However, if you look just beneath the surface of the “right to work” cause, you will see a campaign that is built on distortions and predicated on lies and whose unstated purpose would undermine workers’ safety, economic security and well-being. The true goal of right to work is to put more money into the pockets of corporate shareholders. The consequence of these purposes, whether intended or unintended, is a diminished middle class.

Right to work (RTW) does not provide a financial benefit to workers. It hurts them – financially and physically. A viable labor movement is the best way to advance the wellbeing of the middle class. Here’s what the empirical research shows in terms of worker compensation and workplace safety:

  • The average worker in a RTW state earns about $1,500 less per year than a person working in a non-RTW state.
  • Unions raise worker pay by roughly 20 percent.
  • In Ohio, teachers working in non-union charter schools receive annual salaries that are about $16,000 less than those paid to traditional public school teachers. The gap is even larger when compared to what for-profit charter schools pay their teachers.
  • The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions is lower in RTW states.
  • Worker fatalities in the construction industry are 34 percent higher in RTW states.

Economic development is not enhanced by RTW legislation. In fact, the enactment of RTW laws almost certainly hinders growth and prosperity:

  • Research finds no relationship between the presence of a RTW law and state unemployment rates, per capita income or job growth.
  • When asked what influences their plant-location decision process, RTW is not an important criterion for small manufacturers.
  • Low-wage workers result in lower tax revenues, putting infrastructure needs and education and other publicly funded services at risk.
  • Lower wages also mean less spending by consumers, which stunts economic expansion.
  • States with the lowest percentage of workers in unions have relatively weak middle classes.

In addition to fewer, lower paying, less safe jobs and an erosion of infrastructure and decreased levels of public services, RTW robs our country of its democratic principles. Research shows that a weakened labor movement results in lower voter turnout and less participation by ordinary citizens in the political process. Maybe that is exactly what the RTW folks want; a means of keeping the political cronies of the richest in power so their interests will be forever served. Right to work is a carrot for a select few at the top of the economic food chain and a stick for everyone else.