OEA Urges Lawmakers to Move Quickly to Address Problems Associated with Student Testing

OEA

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

“As Ohio gets ready to implement the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests, a school superintendent recently told the Senate Education Committee what has been apparent to OEA members for some time – ‘Ohio is not yet ready for it.’  Matthew Miller, superintendent of the Mentor Schools in Lake County, described ‘fatal errors’ in the practice run of the PARCC assessments recently conducted at the Mentor Schools.

 He said numerous students were booted off the system and ‘could not resume even after refreshing teacher screens.’ He also described bugs in the system that prevented students from submitting their answers even after responding to all the questions. Superintendent Miller told the Committee that if Mentor is having a problem with PARCC – with its ‘robust technology infrastructure’ – then “the rest of Ohio’s schools will be having issues as well.”

 Other superintendents pointed to what teachers all across the state have been saying – the ‘lack of timely and firmly established guidance’ from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) in helping districts to get ready for the PARCC exams.  Several superintendents agreed with another issue for which OEA has been advocating. It was articulated by Sue Lang, the superintendent of the Wyoming City School District in Hamilton County, who urged the Committee to ‘consider this year as a PARCC transitional year……do not count the PARCC on the state report cards and do not count scores against teachers and students.’

 Well before this year’s implementation of PARCC, OEA has been urging state lawmakers to go beyond the ‘safe harbor’ provisions that were signed into law last year that placed a one-year hold on high-stakes decisions based on test scores.  It is increasingly clear that ‘safe harbor’ protections must be extended beyond the current school year and should also be granted to students.

 The urgency of addressing the problems associated with PARCC is also part and parcel of the need to do something about the overall excessive use of testing in our schools. More and more superintendents are echoing what professional educators in Ohio have been saying for some time – allow more instructional time, and less testing, to drive student achievement. The longer it takes for lawmakers to address the testing issue, the greater the likelihood is that more parents will choose to have their children ‘opt out’ of some of these tests.

 The growing number of ‘opt-outs’ puts educators in an untenable situation. Not only could educators see their own evaluations adversely impacted by high-performing students who chose not to take a test, the results of which are a factor in measuring teacher performance, but as the Avon Lake Superintendent told the Senate Education Committee, he doesn’t want to have teachers placed in a position of lying to parents that all this is workable.

 Changing the way students are tested and teachers are evaluated in Ohio cannot happen soon enough. OEA will continue to push hard for that to happen.”

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

 Michele Prater

Media Relations Consultant

Ohio Education Association

Columbus OH 43216

614-227-3071 = www.ohea.org

TAWLS Update 2/17/15

Tax Deductible Dues:  Attached you will find a document that can be used when filing your taxes to deduct a portion of your association dues.  Contact Rhea Young if you have any further questions. Click Here!

H&R Block Coupon:  Attached is a coupon that can be presented to H&R Block for a discount on your tax preparation fees. Click Here!

Elementary Caucus:  The elementary caucus is scheduled for Wednesday, February 18th at 3:45 p.m. at Meadowvale in the kindergarten room.  Discussion will be focusing upon issues that have been developing at the elementary level that are impacting your job as an elementary TAWLS member.  We are looking forward to seeing many of our elementary teachers there representing their respective buildings.

Text Alerts:  If you have not already done so, please take a brief moment to subscribe to TAWLS Text Alerts.  Text the number81010 with the message @tawls to subscribe.  Thank you to the 288 members who have already subscribed!!

AFL CIO Event:  Attached you will find information regarding the AFL CIO Event “Labor Loves the Library.”  As an affiliate of the AFL CIO we are all welcome to attend this event.  Contact Chris Hodnicki if you have any questions. Click Here!

Governor Kasich’s Proposed K-12 Funding Formula: Governor Kasich has recently unveiled his proposed FY2017 funding.  In this plan, OEA has many questions regarding what districts are deemed as “needy” and those that have the “capacity” to generate more local revenue in this plan.

What IS important to note is that more than half of the school districts would receive less funding than in the previous budget.  Additionally, money will continue to flow to charter schools at the expense of local school districts.  Furthermore, a recent study estimated that 1/3 of the districts slated to receive an increase will see that funding wiped out because of the way the state funds charter schools.  In looking at the possible impact for Washington Local Schools, we would see a funding change of +$3,422,367 but of those funds, losing $2,711,353 to charter schools.  It is important to recognize that these figures are not final and will change during the budget process.     

As budget deliberations begin, legislators from both sides of the aisle are expressing concerns.  These concerns include changes to the state funding formula, a reduction in tangible personal property payments to districts, and changes in transportation funding.  We share the difficulty many are having in understanding why seemingly similar districts are treated differently and why the funding for so many struggling school districts is being cut.  At this time there are more questions than answers.

NEA Representative Assembly:  Anyone interested in being a delegate for the 2015 NEA Representative Assembly should email their name to Jen Mayo at Shoreland by Friday, February 20th.  This year’s Assembly is being held from July 1-6th in Orlando, Florida.  If you have any questions feel free to contact any of your TAWLS Officers.

TAWLS PRESIDENT INVITES ALL MEMBERS TO ATTEND RISE ABOVE THE MARK EVENT

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TAWLS President, Mr. Christopher Hodnicki, encourages all TAWLS members to attend the Rise Above The Mark Event at  Sylvania Southiew High School on February 5, 2015 from 7:00 – 9:00.

For more information click here!

Please take a moment to read the information below from our OEA Labor Relations
Consultant Torian Hodges and complete the subsequent survey below.

Dear OEA member,

OEA has prepared a member survey which your OEA staff and local association can use to better serve you and your local in the coming year. Please consider providing your opinions via our 10 to 15 minute survey. Your responses are critical in developing an authentic plan for your local. Your responses are confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside of our office.

NEA Member Benefits is pleased to offer you two free magazine subscriptions, compliments of the NEA Magazine Service for completing the survey! Choose from titles including Discover, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Instructor, and many more.

Click here to take the survey: http://surveys.ohea.org/limesurvey/index.php?r=survey/index/sid/354398/token/ABC123456

Thank you for taking the time to invest in the future of your organization. Please contact us at HollandOffice@ohea.org if you have any questions.

Other Information

Text Alerts:  If you have not already done so, please take a brief moment to subscribe to TAWLS Text Alerts.  Text the number 81010 with the message @tawls to subscribe.  Thank you to the 258 members who have already subscribed!!

Healthcare Changes:  Over winter break you should have received a letter from Paramount regarding changes in our prescription coverage.  If you are experiencing differences in prescription coverage whether or not it is in mail-order prescriptions or traditional prescriptions that you have filled at local pharmacies, please let Chris Hodnicki know as soon as possible!

Union Dues Tax Deduction:  For those of you itemizing this tax season, as a full-time TAWLS Member you are able to deduct $741.87.  Half-time Members are able to deduct $418.12.  If you have any questions please contact our TAWLS Treasurer Rhea Young for additional information.

NWOEA Graduate Memorial Scholarship:   A $1000 scholarship is open to all TAWLS/NWOEA members pursuing graduate study in the filed of education, including endorsements.  Graduate study in administration is excluded. If you are interested, contact Chris Hodnicki for further information. Requests are due by February 2, 2015.

NWOEA Elected Positions:  The following NWOEA positions are up for election this spring at the 2015 NWOEA RA:  NWOEA Recording Secretary, OEA Board of Directors Unit 1, and At-large minority representative.  If interested in any of these positions, email Joyce Wisebaker at nwoea_wisebaker@sbcglobal.net with your letter of intent.  Application deadline is February 13, 2015.

OEA Legislative Updates

Successes in House Bill 59: No provision to eliminate the minimum teacher salary, no provisions to eliminate the five day school week, no provision to allow the state to take over a school district, instead of 60 missed days students missing 45 days will be removed from a teacher’s student growth calculation—THANKS TO OEA AND MEMBERS LOBBYING THE STATE LEGISLATURE!

Concerns with House Bill 59: The new funding plan set the per-pupil funding at $5800, which is approximately $515 million short of the $1.8 billion in reductions to districts during the last budget cycle. Also the bill expands vouchers for the Ed Choice program and includes an income threshold of 200% the poverty rate ($46,000 for a family of 4), next student growth factor was not been reduced to 35% but was maintained at the 50%. In addition, there is House Bill 597 to repeal common core.