Amish Door Lunch & General Meeting Cancelled but Election is still on for 27 March

Dear Members:

Due to turning our 27 March in-service day into a calamity makeup day, we will be rescheduling our general meeting for a later date.  We apologize for the inconvenience of having to cancel the Amish Door member luncheon as well.  The election of officers and representatives will still take place on Friday 27 March.  Nominations for the election begin 9 March and close 20 March. All positions are open to nominations and all have one-year terms.

OEA Announces Lobby Days

Please join us for the first lobby day on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015.  To RSVP, please email Julie Parsley at parsleyj@ohea.org.  A briefing from OEA’s lobbyists will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the Media Center at OEA Headquarters (225 East Broad Street, Columbus, 43215).  Parking is available at nearby surface lots, in the parking garage just south of the OEA building or at parking meters located on 5th & Broad Streets.

Please be sure to schedule a meeting with your legislators prior to attending lobby day.  Contact information for members of the House and Senate can be found by going to www.legislature.state.oh.us.

If you can’t make it for the March 18th Lobby Day, others dates have been scheduled and are listed below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 (Tentative)

For more information on participating in OEA Member Lobby Days, please contact OEA Government Relations at 1-800-282-1500.

House Bill 1 Seeks to Offer Grants to Encourage Ohio Students to Pursue In-Demand Occupations

Last week the Ohio House of Representatives introduced approximately 25 bills.  The first one – House Bill 1 (R-Schuring) – seeks to establish the Ohio Workforce Grant Program. The intent of the program is to encourage students to pursue occupations that are in-demand.   A list of these occupations can be found by clicking here.

The program will provide up to $5,000 to students on an annual basis.  One-third of the grant will be distributed to the recipient at the beginning of the academic year.  The remainder will be distributed in equal installments throughout the year upon successful completion of milestones adopted by the Chancellor.  These milestones include spending between 30 and 90 days of training in a workplace of an in-demand field; the completion of counseling on how to manage student loan debt; and completion of curriculum.  Students who graduate with a certificate or a degree as part of the program will be eligible for up to a 25 percent tax credit on their student loans.  The bill appropriates $100,000,000 over the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 biennium to fund the program.

House Republicans Introduce Charter School Accountability Legislation; Governor Also Unveils Charter Reform Proposals

House Bill 2 (R-Roegner/Dovilla) is a package of charter school reforms introduced by House Republicans this week.   Separately, Governor Kasich has outlined a set of charter school reforms as part of his biennial state budget proposal.  The Governor’s plan includes penalties for charter sponsors with low ratings on Ohio’s new sponsor rating system, but also would allow sponsors with the highest rating (“exemplary”) to seek a property tax levy from voters to pay for operations.  Charter school reform is also high on the agenda of Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering).

The OEA welcomes the introduction of House Bill 2.  The bill focusses on strengthening the laws on charter sponsors, which is certainly needed.  But there is more work to be done to make sure that comprehensive charter school reform that benefits Ohio’s students and taxpayers is achieved.  One of the problems with the current system is that too much money is going to poor performing charters at the expense of kids in traditional public schools. The OEA looks forward to working closely with lawmakers to ensure meaningful accountability and transparency for Ohio’s charter school system.  The House Education Committee will hear testimony from the HB 2 sponsors on Wednesday, February 4, 2015.  The new chair of the House Education Committee is Rep. Bill Hayes (R-Harrison Township).

Senate Committee to Hold Testing Hearings

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, the Senate Education Committee held its first hearing of the new session of the General Assembly.  The committee heard testimony from Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Richard Ross about his recently completed report on recommendations to reduce the burdensome time currently devoted to standardized testing. Ross stated that the recommendations, if enacted, would reduce the time spent on testing by approximately 20%. 

The report states that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will take a number of actions to address the testing issue. These actions include:

  • Working with the federal government to advocate for flexibility in the testing system.
  • Monitoring the first administrations of the new tests.
  • Finding ways to use a single test for multiple purposes.
  • Exploring whether new state tests can be used for gifted identification.

The report also made a number of legislative recommendations that require a change in law.  These recommendations include:

  • Limiting the amount of time a student takes state and district tests to two percent of the school year.
  • Limiting the time spent practicing for tests to one percent of the school year.
  • Eliminating the fall administration of the third grade reading test while providing an opportunity to take the test in the summer for students who need it.
  • Making math and writing diagnostic tests in the first through third grades optional.
  • Eliminating the use of student learning objectives (SLOs) as part of the teacher evaluation system.

The full report on testing and recommendations from ODE can be viewed by clicking here.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Senator Peggy Lehner (R- Kettering), Chair of the Senate Education Committee, announced that she plans to hold several weeks of hearings on the issue of testing.  Next week the Committee will hear from school district superintendents. Future hearings are planned for teachers, school board members and the general public.

OEA Scholarship and Award Deadline Extended

OEA has extended the following awards deadline to February 16, 2015.  Would you please review the Awards and Scholarships applications that can be accessed electronically from the OEA Members Only Area of the OEA website at www.ohea.org, click on OEA Local Leaders and then Grants and Awards and encourage members to participate by submitting the applications/nominations by that date.

  • Marilyn Cross Scholarship ($2,000)
  • Human and Civil Rights Awards
  • Peace and International Relations Award
  • Blue Ribbon Association Award ($500)
  • OEA Media Award for Public Service
  • OEA Friend of Education Award

Two NEA Opportunities for Classified Employees

Please notify your president if you are interested in either of these opportunities:

The first is an opportunity for nomination for an Emerging Leader and an Advanced Leader to attend the NEA ESP Conference in March 5 – 8, 2015 in New Orleans.  Submission of this form is a change from the past nominations as previously just an email was sent in by the nominee or nominator.  The form can be mailed, emailed or faxed to Linda Hofacker but must be received by the deadline date.  The deadline for this application is Wednesday, January 7, 2015.  No applications will be accepted after that date. 

The second attachment  is a scholarship opportunity for your ESP locals to attend the Ohio Association of Educational Support Professionals (OAESP) Statewide conference to be held March 27-28, 2015.  The deadline for this application is January 30, 2015 and no applications be accepted after that date.   General registration for the conference will open January 31, 2015 and run through February 28, 2015.

5 out of 8 Rule is Removed by State Board of Education

December 10, 2014

Reaction to the State Board of Education removal of ratios from the Operating Standards

  The following statement is attributed to Becky Higgins, president of the Ohio Education Association:

“The OEA is disappointed that the State Board of Education removed ratios from Rule 5 of the Operating Standards that would have maintained a specific minimum staffing level for “educational service personnel.”

“OEA members made their voices heard loudly and clearly in advocating for the retention of the “5 of 8” rule.   In alliance with parents and supportive community members all over the state, we offered testimony, wrote letters, and made phone calls to members of the State Board, and we generated well over 70,000 email contacts with board members.  This advocacy certainly made a difference, but it will require continued vigilance at the local level to ensure school districts consider the needs of the whole child when making staffing decisions for their schools.”

“We do, however, acknowledge that the Board made substantial improvements over the previous proposed rule change.  In particular, the Board took an important step forward in its decision to direct the Accountability Committee to develop a method for reporting the number of school nurses, counselors, librarians, social workers, and teachers of fine arts, music and physical education on local school district report cards. It moves the Board closer to living up to its responsibility to establish standards that ensure a well-rounded high-quality public education for all of Ohio’s students.  We expect the State Board to do even more to make certain schools meet the expectations it lays out in its rules.”

“We hope local districts will get the message that licensed professionals in all of these areas are essential to support the needs of the whole child and that the state legislature will follow suit by ensuring all districts have the resources necessary to meet those needs.”

The Ohio Education Association represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.

Extension Options for Resident Educators

Greetings,

The Ohio State Board of Education, in compliance with ORC 3319.22 and based upon recommendations from the Educator Standards Board, recently approved renewal/extension requirements for resident and alternative resident educator licenses.  The options are designed to allow individuals more time to complete the Resident Educator Program. Those who possess resident or alternative resident educator licenses due to expire June 30, 2015, will be able to renew based upon completed years of teacher residency. Individuals who allow their resident or alternative resident educator license to completely expire, will be required to complete a combination of professional development and/or coursework.  Specifics regarding the application process, dates and requirements will be published online by the Ohio Department of Education in the upcoming months.

Sincerely,

Ellen Adornetto

Education Reform Consultant
Ohio Education Association
225 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio  43215
(800)282-1500 ext. 3001