Why No Rights At Work Is Wrong

Borrowed totally from OEA.


Our out-of-touch opponents are trying to deceive voters again like they did last year. This is worse than SB 5. It doesn’t have to be this way. The so-called, trick-titled “right to work" is WRONG because it is an unsafe and unfair attack on workers' rights, good jobs, families and the middle class. We call it No Rights at Work is Wrong and we don’t need it.


If you work hard and play the rules, you should be treated fairly You should be able to earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work RTW is unfair because it degrades the value of hard work and the worker


RTW strips workers of their collective bargaining rights Voters have spoken on this issue: they support collective bargaining rights Workers should be able to speak up for themselves, their coworkers and their community on the job


RTW means lower wages and fewer benefits for you, me, all of us We need good paying jobs for working and middle-class Ohioans Communities thrive and grow when Ohioans have good paying jobs


It makes it harder to collectively bargain for life-saving equipment, staffing and other safety issues for the brave men and women that protect us, like police officers and firefighters It takes away the professional voices of those we trust to take care of our children and families, such as teachers and nurses It is wrong because it means less money, lower wages and fewer benefits for you, me and all of us in the middle class. Communities thrive and grow when Ohioans have good paying jobs. Let's stand up together and stick together for a decent standard of living.

We Deserve It.

Education News for 10-25-2012

State Education News

  • Staff earns cash for grades (Dayton Daily News)
  • Springboro Community City Schools is planning to pay staff more than $200,000 in bonuses…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Lakota anticipates spending deficits in next 4 of 5 years (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • Spending deficits are projected in Lakota’s near future, and school officials have said further budget reductions will have to come…Read more...

  • Granville schools, Lodge strike deal on valuation (Newark Advocate)
  • The Granville School District and five other tax districts will not have to refund tax collections to the current owners of Cherry Valley Lodge because of a decrease in the lodge’s property valuation…Read more...

  • BP sets STEM curriculum (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • Trumbull County Schools' new curriculum will give students a competitive edge in both their education and their career of choice…Read more...

  • Lorain: School system, city on the brink (WKYC)
  • The city of Lorain and the Lorain City School District are struggling to survive. The area has been hit hard by the economy and unemployment, and families are struggling to get by…Read more...

Lesson Learned?

Just a few short days ago we wrote

Their difficulties will certainly have been further complicated by severe funding cuts as a result of HB153 raiding school budgets, and alienating most school districts and communities with bills like SB5 and HB136. It's hard to collaborate with hundreds of stakeholders when the previous 12 months have been spent attacking them and their mission.

If the administration have learned this lesson we should expect to see more outreach and consultation, and eventually arrive at a funding formula that works for most. Otherwise the administration is going to find itself having traveled a bridge too far.

any signs that the administration is going to take a more collaborative, friendly approach? Erm, no.

That's a recent tweet of the governor's education Czar, Robert Sommers. The last sentence he refers to?

What happened at the OSBA is a warning to old-school traditionalists: Adapt to the public's call for meaningful school reform or be left on the sidelines.

Sounds a lot like the old rhetoric of get on the bus or be run over by it. Lessons can be hard to learn.

What teachers are telling the Governor: Day 4

Previous days comments can be found here:

Day 4 in our series has representatvive comments from Republican teachers

Subject: Input on merit pay
Dear Governor Kasich,
I am responding to your request about input for merit pay. First of all, I want you to know that I am a registered republican voter, as well as a high school math teacher. Next, I want to let you know that my input on merit pay is that I will be voting for the referendum to revoke Senate Bill 5 in November. Also, I want you to be aware that you will NOT get my vote, nor any of my family members votes at the next election due to your involvement with the Senate Bill 5.

This next letter is longer, has some confusion, but a number of interesting sentiments, and is again from a Republican teacher

Dear Governor Kasich,
First of all, I want to state that I have always believed myself to be a Republican. I value honesty and fiscal responsibility, but I also see the need for compromise and rationale decision making. Know that teachers understand that changes need to be made for the good of all tax payers (who are taxpayers as well).

Now in regards to merit pay, my true feeling is that it should be stripped from the budget bill. It is not a solution and I will share why I feel this way below. There are better ways to make these decisions and each district should be allowed to do what is best for their employees and communities. The state should not be forcing their policy on local communities. SB5 did enough stripping the collective bargaining rights away from teachers and communities don't need more policy thrown at us. I am okay with a more fair salary system. I agree that step increases are not the best way to go. But why give teaches the right to negotiate salary and then take it away with merit pay legislation.

As I sit here watching teachers being made the primary focus, and then see company after company getting tax breaks, I get frustrated at the lack of fairness in it all. History shows that giving benefits and breaks to those in power with the hope of that trickling down to the middle class does not work. Look at the Great Depression and the 80's as examples of this failed policy. The jobs it will provide us will never out weigh any tax money generated to help provide strong schools for our communities. We are being held hostage by companies looking to line their own pockets.

Merit pay should not be any where near the drastic cut to 50% of teachers pay being proposed. For someone making $50,000 right now that means you will only give them $25,000 of certainty. You are now placing teachers near the poverty level. This putting teachers who have gone to college and have many student loans to repay in a lose lose situation. Pay certainty should at minimum be 90% of current salary. I can't think of one white collar professional position in any industry where 50% of your income is unknown from year to year. We are homeowners, purchasers of goods and services, parents, and tax payers. My wife and I have been teachers for 11 years and there will be no recovery from this. We have lived at the same level for the last 12 years. We do not live the high life, but if you cut the salary you make all we have worked so hard to attain unsustainable. We will lose our home. There will be no doubt about that. We will be forced from not only our jobs but our profession. We will foreclose like many others and public assistance will be needed. Is that what this state needs? The affects would be dire. We have built our simple life around hard work, but no one can sustain a double hit like this.

I like the word bonus better then merit pay since I think that does a better job of describing the hard work a teacher does day to day. I am all for freezing salaries at current levels so districts have costs certainties from year to year. There is no reason why salaries need to go up and up year to year once we reach a certain level. From that point on teachers can attain bonuses (like in the business world) based on performance like we see the business world does. The problem is though when we tie performance to a test grade is that you no longer have control over what happens. Say a student came into school hungry the day of the test. They got into a fight with the parents. Their parents work after hours and can't be there to help their child with their work at home. They don't speak English as a first language at home. Their home life is in flux due to the economy. These are all factors outside of a teachers control and unique to our profession.

Other professions who receive bonuses have you complete control over their success. The harder you work the more you are rewarded. Merit pay as it is being discussed now allows for all that hard work possibly It talks to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. If a person's basic needs can't be met, learning cannot take place. Then to tie someones bonus "merit pay" to something so unpredictable as to one test is asking for economic disaster to the families that give so much to their profession. What if we said to state representatives, senators, and the governor you will make $25,000 but we will give you merit pay based on your constituents evaluations of how you are doing, how many jobs you bring into your community, etc...? Does that sound fair?

Merit Pay should include the following...
1. Multiple assessment data points (OAA scores should be just one assessment factor)
2. Teacher evaluations by parents are fine as long as 1 bad review doesn't end the chances of a teachers ability to be awarded.

On a side note, I do feel that the true indicator of success is the level of parental involvement in their child's schooling. My parents always were there to help my sisters and myself. They were the ones solely responsible for making sure their children were brought up right, followed the rules, worked hard, and they never allowed us to make excuses to poor performance. Unfortunately seem to have lost that sense of responsibility. Student success is being thrown squarely on the shoulders of teachers who are now the sole bearer of responsibility. Parents need to parent! When do we hold parents accountable for what their children do and not do?

So I propose that parents need to be responsible for getting their child to school, making sure their work is brought in each day, their child listens and obeys the rules of the school so they are not distracting themselves or others. Parents should not take kids out for week long vacations in the middle of the school year for vacations forcing the teacher to make up the content lost while others are moving on. Should we have absentee parents or those who allow their children to do as they please, this should be factored into a teachers overall evaluation for "merit pay".

3. Increase the school year. Make teachers and students go 200 days a year like other countries. No extra money given to teachers for the additional time, we already are paid. Though many of us work summers anyways there really is no difference to most of us whether the year is increased. It is better for the students. Trust me parents would like this to since it takes away the need for day care and that added expenses.

4. Do not decrease salaries... just don't increase them. Let districts call for pay freezes for five years or more so they can get their houses in order. Cost certainty for district and financial stability for teachers.

5. Teachers who have state tests should be held to a different level. I give three major tests every year, others do not give any assessments. This is a major flaw of merit pay and needs to be addressed. There is no fair way to address this.

Thank you for your time in listening to my thoughts. I really would like to talk to someone in the Governor's office more on this issue or even the Governor himself. I am a citizen of Ohio, a teacher, a parent, and a Republican and I have a vested interest in making sure this process works out for all involved in a common sense way.

SB5, Issue campaigns and Polls

There's a long way to go before SB5 is repealed. What may currently feel like a wind to your back can suddenly reveal itself to be a maelstrom instead. With today's polling news that Ohioans overwhelmingly favor repealing SB5, we thought it would be a good idea to cover some election basics.

Right now we are collecting signatures to place the repeal of SB5 on the November 2011 ballot. We need 231,000 verified signatures, which means we need a lot more than that in reality, conservatively, 50% more. But. Each person who signs a SB5 repeal petition is almost as good as a vote, so the more signatures collected the better our chances in November.

November 2011 would be a very low turnout election year under most circumstances, with no major offices on the ballot to attract people to the polls. A similar past year, 2007 saw only 31.34% of registered voters cast a ballot, compared to 53.25% in 2006 and 69.97% in 2008.

Given this, the first thing to bare in mind is that there is a great difference between a voter and a registered voter. A lot of registered voters do not actually vote! In off-cycle election years like 2011 it could be about 2/3 of registered voters who stay home on election day. There are a few lessons to be learned from this simple and obvious fact.

  1. When reading polls be careful to consider if they are of registered voters (RV), or have been screened for likely voters(LV).
    Today's Quinnipiac poll is of registered voters, as will most polls be until after Labor Day when it becomes easier to gauge a persons likelihood to vote
  2. Getting your supporters to actually go vote (GOTV) is crucial to success.
    We need to turn as many registered voters into actual voters on election day in November. The best way to do that right now is to collect signatures. Lots and lots of them.

Back to polling. We all know about sampling errors and margin of error, but you should also be aware that it is very hard to accurately poll issue campaigns, and even harder to do so in low turnout elections. Two recent examples from Ohio demonstrate this quite well.

In 2005 a group of people attempted to reform Ohio's election and redistricting laws. Right before the election the Bliss Institute polled the issues and found

State Issue Two (Absentee Balloting)
Favor: 63.8%
Oppose: 36.2%

State Issue Three (Campaign Contributions)
Favor: 61.2%
Oppose: 38.8%

State Issue Four (Nonpartisan Redistricting)
Favor: 43.5%
Oppose: 56.5%

State Issue Five (Role of Secretary of State)
Favor: 42.5%
Oppose: 57.5%

The Dispatch found similar results. All 4 issues lost just a few days later by massive 2:1 margins. The polling was way off.

In 2006 a coalition similar to the SB5 coalition put a minimum wage initiative on the ballot. It won 57%-43%, but in a NYT/CBS poll just 2 weeks earlier it enjoyed over 77% support.

The bottom line -

  • We have to work hard now, to collect as many signatures as possible
  • We have to work hard through the summer and fall to talk to voters and convince them that repealing SB5 is the right thing to do
  • In the closing month of the election get as many people to vote early as possible
  • On election day, get as many supporters of repeal to the polls as possible

That's a lot of work. Ready for it?

Words vs Deeds #Updated

In an excellent example of "Say one thing, do another", on March 4th Governor Kasich told Gongwer

Gov. John Kasich said Friday that he was pleased with substance and pace of legislative action on a controversial proposal to the roll back collective bargaining rights of public employees.
Gov. Kasich said he didn't anticipate holding a ceremonial bill signing event for the contentious proposal.

"This is hard for people and anything that's hard - I want to be respectful of other people's feelings their thoughts and their emotions," he said.

"My only word to union families are: what we are doing in this state is designed to make sure that your kids have a future in this state, that your kids can stay in this state, that they can have jobs in this state and your family can be prosperous," he said. "This is not an attack on you, this is not a political operation. I could care less about the politics. This is what is part of an overall plan to help fix our state."

This afternoon we learn from the Dispatch and our Email inbox's

Gov. John Kasich will sign Senate Bill 5 this evening, placing into law legislation that limits collective bargaining for about 360,000 public employees.

The bill was delivered today to the governor's office for his signature after being processed by Ohio Senate Clerk Stacy Lilly. The signing will take place at 7 p.m. in the Statehouse State Room.
The governor announced he would sign the bill today through a campaign fundraising email sent out this morning.

In Kasich's email, he said passage of the bill by the Ohio House and Senate was "a victory for Ohio taxpayers." The email also asks for donations of "$20, $10, or even $5" to "help us continue to return the balance of power."

"There is a reason that the union bosses opposed these changes; because it strips power from the union leaders and returns it to the taxpayers and workers," Kasich's campaign email said.

Does a campaign fundraising email sound respectful and apolitical? If it doesn't, you'd be right.


Plunderbund puts the video together