Teachers Digging Into Own Pockets to tune of $1.3 billion


Roughly half the amount that the nation's public school teachers are spending on educational products is being covered with their own money, a new nationwide survey shows.

All told, teachers spent about $3.2 billion on various types of supplies and materials during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the survey, released recently by the National School Supply and Equipment Association. Half that total amount, $1.6 billion, came out of educators' own pockets.

The per-teacher breakdown is as follows: The average educator forked out about $198 of their own money on instructional materials, $149 on school supplies, and $139 on other classroom materials, for a total of $485 last academic year, according to the survey.

In total, nearly all teachers—99.5 percent—reported digging into their own pockets to cover the costs on classroom supplies or materials, according to the association. The portion of teachers doing so appears to have risen over time.

The report, "The 2010 NSSEA Retail Market Awareness Study," was based on a survey of 308 K-12 teachers, conducted by Perry Research Professionals.

OEA Response to PD and NPR Teacher shaming

Here's the statement from the Ohio Education Association, which represents over 121,000 educators

Responding to a series of newspaper, web and radio stories on value-added scroes of individual Ohio teachers, Patricia Frost-Brooks, President of the Ohio Education Association criticized the fairness of the stories and the wisdom of using value-added scores as such a prominent index of teacher success:

"The Ohio Education Association was not contacted for comment on the Plain Dealer/StateImpact Ohio stories, despite our expertise, which would have provided desperately needed context and perspective. Reporters and editors admitted this value-added data was 'flawed,' but they chose surprise and impact over fairness, balance and accuracy," Frost-Brooks said.

"We are all accountable for student success – teachers, support professionals, parents, students and elected officials. And the Ohio Education Association is committed to fair teacher evaluation systems that include student performance, among other multiple measures. But listing teachers as effective or ineffective based on narrow tests not designed to be used for this purpose is a disservice to everyone.

"Value-added ratings can never paint a complete or objective picture of an individual teacher’s work or performance. Trained educators can use a student’s value-added data, along with other student data, to improve student instruction. But the stories promote a simplistic and inaccurate view of value-added as a valid basis for high-stakes decisions on schools, teachers and students."

Very questionable that reporters would not contact the largest teachers assoication in crafting their story.

Education News for 02-06-2013

State Education News

  • Fewer Ohio students getting free lunches (Columbus Dispatch)
  • For the first time in six years, the number of Ohio students qualifying for free or reduced- price lunches has dropped. Still, a celebration seems premature…Read more...

  • Funding data for Kasich school plan not ready yet (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Ohioans still can’t see how their tax dollars will be divided among local school districts under Gov. John Kasich’s school-funding plan…Read more...

  • State education official fired after child porn found on computer (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The Ohio Department of Education said it fired its chief operating officer after learning he was under investigation for possessing child pornography and then finding such images on his work computer…Read more...

  • Be on your best behavior, schools chiefs told (Columbus Dispatch)
  • More than 500 school leaders heard Gov. John Kasich reveal his new school budget and reform plan at a meeting in the Polaris Hilton Hotel last week…Read more...

Local Education News

  • School model catches on in New York (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • About two years ago, a steady stream of out-of-town educators – school leaders, nonprofit agencies, education groups – started visiting Cincinnati…Read more...

  • Berea High School students demonstrate the dangers of distractions when driving (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Berea High classmates Caleb Samol and Justin Harris discovered their reflexes suffered while trying to hit a flashing target…Read more...

  • Figure in Columbus schools data-rigging to resign (Columbus Dispatch)
  • The man whose name was uttered again and again in connection with Columbus schools’ student-data scandal — Steve Tankovich — resigned yesterday…Read more...

  • TRECA part of shared service, resource center (Marion Star)
  • The boards of directors of the Tri-Rivers Education Computer Association and Northwest Ohio Computer Association recently authorized creation of a collaborative shared service and resource center…Read more...

  • College rules the day at Oyler School (Marketplace)
  • There’s a parade of cute coming down the hallway -- a gaggle of first graders, walking single file, each one wearing a construction paper crown with a Penn State…Read more...

  • ABLE testing procedure changes upcoming (Portsmouth Daily Times)
  • Scioto County ABLE (Adult Basic Learning Exam), announced this week that the current version of the GED test will expire at the end of 2013…Read more...

State Board of Education

The Dispatch has an article on the State Board of Education elections that will also take place on November 6th

The state board consists of eight appointees of the governor and 11 elected to four-year terms. Seven are up for election on Tuesday.

Perhaps the most-important work ahead for the board will be to hire the next state superintendent. The office has been vacant since early August, when Stan Heffner resigned after the release of a politically charged ethics probe. The board also must deal with data rigging by school districts, implementation of Ohio’s new third-grade reading guarantee and more-rigorous Common Core curriculum standards, and oversight of the new school-funding formula that Gov. John Kasich plans to unveil next year.

Elections for these offices typically appear quite low down on the ballot, so voters should be mindful to go through their entire ballot. As the Dispatch notes, lot of important issues go through the State Board of Education.

A quick look at some of the pro-public education candidates

Ann E. Jacobs
District 1 (Northwest Ohio)
As an elected member of the State Board, Ann e. Jacobs is an attorney and owner of Jacobs Law Offices, LLC, in Lima. She has worked as a trial attorney for the equal employment Opportunity Commission and as assistant attor- ney general for the Attorney General of Ohio.

Previously, Jacobs served as president, vice president and member of the Shawnee Local School Board, and as a member of the Apollo Jr. Vocation Board. her professional and civic member- ships include the California Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, the Ohio Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar Association; member of the Senior Citizens Board; Board of Trustees member of the YWCA; Board member of Marimor Industries; and elder and deacon of Market Street Presbyterian Church. Jacobs earned her bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and her Ju- ris Doctor from Catholic University.

Richard Javorek
District 5 (exurban Cleveland)
Richard Javorek is a retired teacher living in Chippewa Lake, Ohio. he taught social stud- ies in the Brunswick City School District for over 30 years and was an adjunct faculty member at Bry- ant & Stratton College in Cleveland. he has served as Chair of the Ohio Social Studies Resource Cen- ter and was an advisor to both the Ohio Center for Law Related edu- cation and the Ohio Department of education. Javorek received the Ashland Oil Golden Apple Award and, in 2000, he was named Teacher of the Year at Willetts Middle School. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Baldwin Wallace College and his master’s degree from Kent State University. he is an ordained minister and an Assistant District Commissioner in the Boy Scouts.

Michael L. collins
District 6 (Columbus Metro)
As an elected member of the State Board, Michael L. Collins currently serves as president of Promotions One, Inc., a marketing agency, with ex- perience directing regional events including first Night Columbus, Waterfire Columbus, the Columbus Marathon and the Columbus Race for the Cure. As an educa- tion advocate, Collins has served as a member and president of the Westerville City Schools Board of education; a member of the Westerville City Schools liaisons, business operations, student activities, levy campaigns and long-range planning committees; and chair of the Westerville City Schools Levy Cam- paign. his two collegiate degrees in education have helped him be effective in these roles. he is also ac- tive in the community. His service includes work with the Westerville Chamber of Commerce, Westerville Rotary Club, Westerville Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, and Columbus events Council, Metro Denver health and Wellness Commission and various committees for the Ohio School Boards Association. He has also volunteered as a coach for youth football and wrestling.

James J. collum
District 7 (Northeastern Ohio)
James J. Collum is an Ohio native and a product of strong public schools. After graduating from Glen Oak high School, Collum earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at The University of florida in 1995. he then enrolled at The Ohio State University College of Law and received his Juris Doctor in 1999. Collum has been in private practice since 2000, maintaining his law office in the Belden Village area of Canton. During the past decade, he has dedicated his practice to advocating for individuals and their rights—representing them against large companies in Title VII discrimination cases, unemployment claims, severance negotiation as well as numerous other employment- related cases. he also represents individuals in other types of civil matters, including personal injury, business formation and litigation, real estate and wills and trusts.

Stephanie Dodd
District 9 (Southeastern Ohio)
Stephanie L. Dodd, a native of Zanesville and resident of Licking Township, owns SLD Consulting, a small business that works with candidates, organizations and issue-based groups to achieve maximum fundraising results. Dodd possesses a strong understanding of the need for innovative strategies, the ability to analyze data and the commitment that is essential for success. “The parents, students and taxpayers of the 9th District need a representative who is 100 percent dedicated to improving Ohio’s schools,” Dodd said. As a small business owner, taxpayer and parent, Dodd brings a unique perspective to the State Board of education that will emphasize the role of Ohio’s schools in the state economy.

Todd Book
District 10 (Southern Ohio)
Todd Book is a product of the West Portsmouth Public Schools in Scioto County, Ohio. he graduated from Western Michigan University, magna cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He obtained his law degree from the nation’s oldest law school at the College of William and Mary and then returned to Portsmouth to begin his law practice. In 2002, Book was elected to the Ohio house of Representatives, serving four terms before term limits forced him to leave the legislature. While a state representative, Book was known as a hard-working member who focused on policy over politics. He held the positions of assistant minority leader, caucus chair and chairman of the Rules Committee. He was one of the few members that voted against No Child Left Behind. Book is heavily involved with his community and is a member of the Portsmouth Civic forum.

Mary Rose Oakar
District 11 (Cleveland)
As an elected member of the State Board representing District 11, Mary Rose Oakar serves approximately two-thirds of Cuyahoga County. She was elected to her current four-year term in 2008. Oakar served in three legislative bodies. She was a Member of the Cleveland City Council, a 16-year Member of the United States Congress and a Member of the Ohio house of Representatives. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Ursuline College and a master’s degree from John Carroll University. Oakar taught at Lourdes Academy and east high and, from 1968 to 1975, at Cuyahoga Community College. For 6 1⁄2 years, she was president of the American- Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which describes itself as the largest Arab-American grassroots civil rights organization in the U.S. Active in the community, Oakar is a member of the housing Board for Project Afford, a volunteer at the West Side hunger Center, a member of the Ohio farm Bureau, and a member of the “former Members of U.S. Congress.”

We Educate America

Over 8,000 teachers and eduction support professionals, elected by their peers to represent them, gathered in Washington D.C at the beginning of a hot July, to attend the 150th National Education Association (NEA) meeting, the 91st Representative Assembly (RA). This makes the gathering the world's largest democratic deliberative assembly.

We Educate America, wasn't just the theme, but the reality, emphasized throughout the almost week long event.

NEA RA 2012

On the first day, and with one of the first pieces of business, delegates reiterated their priorities, and affirmed their commitment to leading the profession by:

  • Support Association and member led school transformation efforts and pursue state and district policies that help create great public schools for all students;
  • Offer intensive support to struggling schools (including NEA Priority Schools) and share lessons learned at the local and state levels;
  • Work in partnership with parents, community organizations, and allied coalitions with the goal of improving student outcomes;
  • Lead efforts to fund and establish a coalition of teachers’ professional organizations, higher education professional associations and faculty, education support professional organizations, specialized instructional support personnel organizations (e.g. school social workers, psychologists etc.), and other organizations promoting standards of professional practice with the goal of identifying a universally accepted body of standards for all of the education professions;
  • Advocate for including educators and association leaders in all school and district decision-making bodies, including the areas of policy, personnel, and budgets. Use collective bargaining and other multi-party processes to help accomplish this goal;
  • Create a network of organizational advocates at the local, state, and national level to convey the over-arching goals and strategies as well as the actions, the desired outcomes, and the value propositions of leading the professions.

The second from last point being one we have repeatedly called for here at JTF. Their second order of business was to overwhelmingly reject the misuse of standardized tests

  • Call on governors, state legislatures, state education boards, administrators, and assessment system consortia or developers, to reexamine public school accountability systems in the state, and work with educators to improve them based on fair testing standards promulgated by experts in testing practice;
  • Call on states and districts to develop systems based on multiple forms of evidence of student learning that do not require extensive standardized testing, are used to support all students and improve schools; and are not used for purposes for which they have not been validated;
  • Share the NEA Policy Statement on Teacher Evaluation and Accountability with relevant stakeholders in order to inform conversations about the appropriate use of assessments in evaluation systems to support instruction and student learning.
  • Disseminate criteria regarding the validity of assessments and promote the productive use of high quality, valid, and reliable standardized assessments as part of robust, authentic accountability systems that include multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality designed:
  • to improve learning by identifying students’ strengths and challenges,
  • to identify successful practices in schools,
  • to support struggling schools, and
  • to inform educators’ practice.
  • Uphold our belief as stated in Resolution B-66 and shall support parents’/guardians’ rights to opt out of standardized testing.

The second day's business was dominated by the Vice President addressing the RA

Jill Biden also an educator, introducing her husband, the Vice President, captured the essence of the RA, “I know that you all understand. Being a teacher is not what I do, it’s who I am.”

The Vice-President then went on to capture the essence of the Presidential race, and more, “My Dad used to say ‘Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget,’” Biden told delegates, that obviously resonated with the Ohio delegation who are suffering from the worst budget assault Ohio public schools have ever seen, due to Governor Kasich and his legislature's budget.

Speaking of Ohio, educators at the RA had not forgotten about SB5

NEA Ohio SB5

The third day of the RA was set aside for association business, but the highlight turned out to be a speech by teacher of the year, Rebecca Mieliwocki.

“If we want real change, lasting change, if we want back the power, the pride, the soaring achievement that is an exceptional public education, then the revolution begins with us.”

The Final day of the RA, saw, or rather heard from President Obama, who made a surprise call while on a campaign trip through Ohio.

NEA Obama

He told the more than 8,000 cheering educators gathered, “You can’t help the American people without helping education,” he went on to comment that Mitt Romney’s vision of education is a system that only benefits the richest Americans. “Michelle and I wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for great parents, great grandparents, and a great education.”

After the call, the huge convention center erupted into chants of "4 more year, 4 more years".

This opening article graf sums up the 2012 NEA RA very well

If public education is to remain a basic right for every child, rather than a privilege for only the wealthy, educators will have to lead their profession not just in their schools but in their communities and in political campaigns. That was the recurring message from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki, and the more than 8,000 educators at the 2012 National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly


Crisis and recovery in Chardon

We were lucky enough to snag a copy of OEA's latest "Ohio Schools" magazine. Reading through it yesterday, we came to this incredibly powerful and moving piece on the Chardon shootings. Here it is.


On February 27, a 17-year-old student sat down at a cafeteria table at Chardon High School and pulled a gun from a bag. Then he stood up and began shooting. Minutes later, those at the 1,100-student school said they heard screams, as the first 911 calls were made, teachers locked down classrooms, and students started sending text messages to friends and parents.

Student Daniel Parmertor, 16, died of his wounds hours after the shooting. Student Russell King Jr., 17, died early February 28; and Demetrius Hewlin, 16, died later that day. Wounded students, Joy Rickers, 18, and Nick Walczak survived that attack.

The defendant in the shootings, T.J. Lane, a sophomore at Lake Academy, an alternative high school for at-risk students, was arrested after being chased out of the cafeteria by a teacher. He later confessed to authorities that he fired 10 rounds from a .22-caliber pistol and had chosen his victims at random.

Lane has been charged as a juvenile with three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated attempted murder and one count of felonious assault. His next scheduled court hearing is on April 3, when the judge will determine whether he should be tried as an adult. Under Ohio law, if the Geauga County Prosecutor can show probable cause that Lane committed the crimes he is charged with, the teen's case will move to adult court where Lane could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted.


As the students, educators and residents of Chardon have struggled to understand the nation's deadliest shooting at a high school in six years, each has been part of the critical recovery effort that began on February 27 and will continue for a long time to come.

The response to the tragedy involved the collaborative and careful response of first responders, school administrators, the Chardon Education Association (Local President Tammy Segulin), Chardon Association of Classified Employees (Local President Ferd Wolfe) and Auburn Career & Technical Association (Local President Bob Hill), OEA Labor Relations Consultants (LRCs) Todd Jaeck and Kim Lane (Mentor office) and the OEA Crisis Response Team.

Immediately following the shootings on February 27, high school students were evacuated one room at time with assistance from law enforcement. Parents were notified to report to Maple Elementary School via ConnectEd and staff organized a sign- out procedure to reunite students with their parents. Parents of the injured students were privately notified.

Later that morning, Chardon High School staff met with the administration and law enforcement for updates on the injured and on the suspect.

On February 28, a District Response Team including building administrators, the district communications director, heads of law enforcement, mental health professionals, local clergy and local association representatives assembled to outline plans for the remainder of the school week.

Two days after the deadly shooting the district called faculty and staff together for updates from the administration and law enforcement and for grief counseling. On March 1, staff returned to the school buildings and parents and students were invited to return to the high school for a walk- through and to meet with counselors. On March 2, all schools reopened.

As the Chardon tragedy unfolded, 0EA's 16-member Crisis Response Team began its work with locals and made preparations to meet with staff when they returned to work. A group of OEA staff and one school counselor, the Crisis Response Team is trained to provide intervention services for education staff in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or violent incident that occurs while students are in school or that is otherwise related to a school or campus site.

Although school staff and students had practiced lockdown drills and evacuation procedures with local law enforcement during the past three years, they had hoped that these would remain drills. Local leaders like Chardon Education Association President Segulin explained that they had never practiced how to handle the aftermath of a real crisis.

On March 5, team members Kim Lane, Bill Pearsol, Cindy Petersen, Tom Williams, Lori Morgan and therapy dog, Bella—assisted teachers and education support professionals at Chardon High School and at the Auburn Career Center as they began the healing process. Key to their work was offering resources and emotional support to help restore a sense of safety and security within the schools and community.

"Many of the members were still in a state of disbelief and running on pure adrenaline," Lane said. "Individually, they shared their feelings of anger, grief and a sense of helplessness."

The following week, Crisis Response Team members Lane, Betty Elling, Suzanne Kaszar, Morgan and Bella continued to assist staff at both the high school and middle school as the reality of the incident was beginning to sink in.

"Many times a major crisis starts to emotionally break down a staff to the point where members leave the building or profession altogether," Segulin said. "Members of the Crisis Response Team were stationed in several of our buildings and were able to discuss personal matters as well as reassure members that being together is an important part of the staff's long term healing and cohesion. Students eventually graduate and move on, yet the school staff that remains must foster the positive growth and healing well after the tragedy."

Through the end of the school year, local law enforcement will be present at the high school and grief counselors and therapy dogs will be on site to assist students and staff. Substitute teachers will also be available for any teacher who needs time away from the classroom.

Segulin shared the gratitude of the locals for the help of the OEA Crisis Response Team, LRCs Jaeck and Lane, OEA Communications and Political Action Consultant Gary Carlile and the NEA for their assistance and resources. She said the NEA Crisis Guide, has proven especially beneficial and that the Chardon administrative team, communications director, mental health professionals and teachers have since incorporated its guidelines and ideas into their crisis plan.

"While there is no perfect model for handling a crisis," Segulin said, "the guidelines provide a meaningful and thoughtful approach to helping Chardon heal and memorialize our fallen and injured students."


For those who teach and work and learn in Chardon, an unspeakable tragedy has been met with an unprecedented outpouring of compassion and support from both neighboring and distant schools and communities and from the nation at large.

Messages have arrived daily from people around the world. Sympathy cards and words of encouragement line student lockers, signed banners stretch through the school and flowers and potted plants offer color and cheer. A red-and-black paper chain made by Chardon elementary school students extends down each hallway.

For staff, Segulin said, "We had no idea that simply being together was most important on our grief journey." They are grateful to fellow teachers and community agencies that provided breakfasts, lunches and goodies that allowed them to replenish their bodies, sit down with one another, listen and make plans for the future.

No one knew whether students would be strong enough to face their fears and return to the building. "That was dispelled three days later when the Class of 2012 and their parents led a school-wide march from the Chardon town square to the school as a symbol of solidarity," Segulin said.

Neighbors lined the streets, cheering as the students entered the building and cafeteria with tears streaming down their faces. Staff greeted them with applause and hugs. "Parents thanked us for keeping their children safe," Segulin said, "as we thanked the students for having the courage to come back."