Ohio Teachers endorse Common Core Standards

From our mailbag

At its Spring Representative Assembly in Columbus, members of the Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest education employee union, voted to support careful implementation of the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics – but warned that outdated tests and lack of support for the standards could create major obstacles for success.

To address those issues, OEA members called for immediate suspension of outdated testing that does not align with the new Common Core State Standards and demanded comprehensive state and local support for the Common Core to bolster chances for successful implementation and challenging learning opportunities for students.

The moratorium on outdated high-stakes testing must begin now, said OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks. “It defies common sense for students, teachers, and schools to be held accountable for test scores based on standards that have been rejected by educators – and the State Board of Education. There is no benefit from teaching and testing young people on outdated standards.”

OEA warned that failure to provide professional development, technology for computer-based testing and time for collaborative planning “threaten successful implementation of the Common Core initiative.”

“The failure of policy makers to fund and support local implementation with the technology and ongoing communication with parents and communities will create unnecessary challenges for school districts and their employees,” said Frost-Brooks.

Common Core has great potential, and the issues OEA has identified are problems with implementation and support, not problems with the standards themselves, Frost-Brooks said.

“Teachers, parents and community leaders all helped create the Common Core, using research, best practices, and their hopes for the next generation,” said Frost-Brooks. “If properly implemented, Common Core learning strategies offer a dynamic foundation for lifelong learning, empowering teachers to use a wider range of strategies and their professional judgment and giving students more time to master essential knowledge and skills.”

That ought to embolden some of the tea party conspiracy theorists now popping up all over the place opposing Common Core.

Education News for 10-31-2012

Local Education News

  • Parents sue school district over alleged bullying (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • A Hamilton family has filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton City School Board of Education, alleging “intentional infliction of emotional distress” as a result…Read more...

  • Teachers bringing inside views to Marion boards of education (Marion Star)
  • The county’s largest school district has mostly former teachers on its board of education, while two other districts now have retired teachers on their boards…Read more...


  • Good challenge for higher-ed leaders (Canton Repository)
  • Gov. John Kasich sure gives a lot of homework. His latest challenge to leaders of the state universities and community colleges should get a host of issues on the table for public discussion…Read more...

  • Lima, Elida school levies deserve support (Lima News)
  • Over the last several years, we’ve asked many public servants to pinch their pennies and eliminate unneeded overhead. We’ve begged them to consider…Read more...

Two Visions

Education historian Diane Ravitch, writing about the Chicago teachers strike, but has lots of relevance across the board

The Chicago Teachers Union has a different vision: it wants smaller classes, more social workers, air-conditioning in the sweltering buildings where summer school is conducted, and a full curriculum, with teachers of arts and foreign languages in every school. Some schools in Chicago have more than forty students in a class, even in kindergarten. There are 160 schools without libraries; more than 40 percent have no teachers of the arts.

What do the teachers want? The main sticking point is the seemingly arcane issue of teacher evaluations. The mayor wants student test scores to count heavily in determining whether a teacher is good (and gets a bonus) or bad (and is fired). The union points to research showing that test-based evaluation is inaccurate and unfair. Chicago is a city of intensely segregated public schools and high levels of youth violence. Teachers know that test scores are influenced not only by their instruction but by what happens outside the classroom.

The strike has national significance because it concerns policies endorsed by the current administration; it also raises issues found all over the country. Not only in Chicago but in other cities, teachers insist that their students need smaller classes and a balanced curriculum. Reformers want more privately-managed charter schools, even though they typically get the same results as public schools. Charter schools are a favorite of the right because almost 90 percent of them are non-union. Teachers want job protection so that they will not be fired for capricious reasons and have academic freedom to teach controversial issues and books. Reformers want to strip teachers of any job protections.

Encounrage you to read the whole piece, here.

Education News for 07-27-2012

Statewide Stories of the Day

  • Test-score probe goes statewide (Blade)
  • The investigation into possible manipulation of test scores at Ohio schools moved statewide on Thursday, with the Ohio Auditor's Office now questioning what role, if any, the Ohio Department of Education had in the changes. State Auditor Dave Yost and the education department had opened a joint investigation in recent weeks of alleged data manipulation at Columbus Public Schools. School officials appeared to have manipulated data there to remove scores for students who were chronically truant, improving their attendance rates and test scores. Read more...

  • Automatic cuts may put teaching jobs in jeopardy (Dayton Daily News)
  • Ohio could lose more than 1,500 education-related jobs and more than $98 million in federal education funding if automatic discretionary spending cuts go into effect Jan. 2. “States and local communities would lose $2.7 billion in federal funding for just three critical education programs alone – Title I, special education state grants, and Head Start,” Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said in a report released Wednesday. “Nationwide, these cuts would force 46,349 employees to either lose their jobs or rely on cash-strapped states and localities to pick up their salaries instead.” Read more...

  • Auditor: Cheating probe to expand statewide (Enquirer)
  • Prompted in part by alleged cheating by Lockland school officials to improve their district’s standing, Ohio’s auditor launched a statewide investigation of all districts on Thursday.

    Similar allegations have also surfaced in Columbus and Toledo. “It appears that attendance report rigging is not a localized problem with Columbus Public schools, but that it may be more systematic,” State Auditor David Yost said in a letter sent Thursday to state Board of Education president Debe Terhar of Green Township. Read more...

  • New Report Finds A Third of Ohio Students Overweight (ONN)
  • CINCINNATI - A new statewide health report shows one in three students who participated in a Body Mass Index screening was overweight or obese. Health officials said that children need to do a better job exercising and eating healthier to avoid medical issues. Parent Orlando Mitchell has three kids including a 16-year-old and said they had issues with their weight. "My children went through a phase and got big at one time," Mitchell said. He admits he also had weight problems as a teenager which led to health issues for him as an adult. Read more...

  • Ohio auditor will investigate attendance reports of public schools and state education department (Plain Dealer)
  • COLUMBUS — The Ohio auditor's office is launching a statewide investigation into how attendance is reported by school districts, charter schools and the Ohio Department of Education. The move announced Thursday follows revelations about questionable practices in Columbus and Toledo, as well as the Lockland school district near Cincinnati. In all three cases, the focus is on test scores that didn't count on state report cards because the student test-takers were dropped from attendance rolls and then re-enrolled during the school year. Read more...

Local Issues

  • Riverside Schools, unions reach deals that extend wage freezes (News-Herald)
  • The Riverside School District has finalized contracts for both its unions for the next two years. Teaching and non-teaching staff have agreed to an additional two-year wage freeze that also eliminates step increases, and advancements for educational credit. The teaching staff had already agreed to a one-year wage freeze during contract negotiations last year, resulting in an effective three-year total wage freeze, Superintendent James Kalis said. Read more...

  • Lorain superintendent negotiations not finished in time for board meeting (Morning Journal)
  • LORAIN — Lorain City Schools are still negotiating a contract for superintendent candidate Tom Tucker, so the school board had no contract to approve last night as originally intended. However, the district is on track for an August hiring of Tucker, board president Tim Williams said. “We are still at the final stages of some very specific negotiations in the contract,” Williams said, though he would not give details. “We’re optimistic about our negotiations with our superintendent,” Williams said. Read more...

  • Lima levy on, campaign effort strong (Lima News)
  • LIMA — Not long after it saw a levy defeated by just 100 votes last march, the Lima schools levy committee was already back to work. Now, they can officially kick the campaign into gear, following the board's final decision Thursday to go back on the ballot with the same request. “We really are going to concentrate on the legacy of the Lima City Schools and the fact that Lima City Schools graduates are very proud graduates,” said Peggy Ehora, one of four to chair the committee. “We feel like the legacy for us is that people have always been proud to be a part of that system. Read more...


  • A Teacher Remembers the Accused Colorado Gunman (Education Week)
  • When I knew James Holmes, the alleged Colorado shooter, he was Jimmy. I was his 5th grade teacher. Back then, in 1998-99, Holmes lived in Castroville, Calif., a tiny town of 5,000. Since the theater shooting in Aurora, I’ve talked about Jimmy with one of his former classmates; let’s call him Chris. Jimmy was well-dressed, neat, wore glasses, liked to read, and excelled in all academic areas. He had two really good friends, including Chris, both sharp like him—in fact, top of the class. Read more...

  • Skewed (Courier)
  • A golden rule in education is thou shall not cheat. Students learn early on that sharing answers on a test or copying someone else's work won't be tolerated. But is it cheating if school administrators manipulate attendance records to show their district is performing better on its state report card than it really is? While all evidence is not in, that appears to be what has happened in several school districts around Ohio. Read more...

School levies on the August 2012 ballot

Here are the school levies and issues that will appear on the August 7th, 2012 special election ballots.

There are 26 requests for new monies (including bonds) and 9 renewal requests.

There are 2 bond issues, 1 combined bond and tax levy issue, 4 income tax issues, 1 combined bond and income tax issue, 1 combined income and tax levy issue and 26 tax levy issues. That makes a total of 35 school financing issues in total

County District Type N/R
Ashtabula Ashtabula Area CSD Tax Levy New
Ashtabula Geneva Area CSD Tax Levy New
Ashtabula Jefferson Area LSD Tax Levy New
Butler Monroe LSD Tax Levy New
Columbiana Columbiana EVSD Bond New
Cuyahoga Brecksville-Broadview Heights CSD Tax Levy Renew
Darke Tri-Village LSD Tax Levy New
Delaware Buckeye Valley LSD Income Tax & Bond New
Erie Margaretta LSD Tax Levy Renew
Franklin Groveport-Madison LSD Tax Levy Renew
Fulton Swanton LSD Tax Levy Renew
Geauga Chardon LSD Tax Levy New
Greene Xenia Community CSD Income Tax New
Hamilton Lockland LSD Tax Levy New
Holmes East Holmes LSD Tax Levy New
Lake Madison LSD Tax Levy New
Licking North Fork LSD Income Tax Renew
Medina Buckeye LSD Tax Levy New
Miami Bethel LSD Tax Levy Renew
Miami Bethel LSD Tax Levy Renew
Miami Tipp City EVSD Tax Levy New
Montgomery Northmont CSD Tax Levy Renew
Montgomery Vandalia-Butler CSD Tax Levy New
Richland Clear Fork Valley LSD Income Tax New
Sandusky Clyde-Green Springs EVSD Tax Levy New
Scioto Green LSD Tax Levy New
Shelby Jackson Center LSD Income Tax New
Stark Louisville CSD Tax Levy New
Summit Coventry LSD Bond and Tax Levy New
Summit Barberton CSD Tax Levy New
Summit Woodridge LSD Tax Levy New
Wayne Dalton LSD Tax Levy Renew
Williams Bryan CSD Bond New
Williams Edon Northwest LSD Income Tax and Tax Levy New
Wood Lake LSD Tax Levy New

Here are the levy results for the August 2011 special election. 8 of 25 issues were approved. All renewal and replacement requests passed, with just 4 of 21 new requests.

Survey finds parent-teacher relationships strong--Teachers given grade of "A"

Parenting magazine and the National Education Association today announced the results of a groundbreaking joint survey* of 1,000 public school parents and educators that explored the roadblocks to effective parent-teacher communication. When parents were asked to “grade” their relationship with their child’s teachers, nearly half (45 percent) gave the teachers an “A,” with the majority on both sides categorizing the relationship as “great” and “open.”

Despite the strong relationships, the survey revealed that the two sides differ on some key issues. Sixty-eight percent of teachers reported difficulty in dealing with parents. A similar percentage of parents–63 percent–reported they’d never had difficulty with teachers. More than one-quarter of parents stated their biggest challenge has been teachers’ perceived lack of understanding for their concerns, while one in three teachers cited parents’ lack of understanding of their child’s issues as their biggest challenge.

The survey also revealed that:

  • Nearly two out of three parents say their child’s teachers offer a supportive response to concerns when they are expressed, and that teachers are willing to help resolve concerns; nearly 80 percent of teachers consider parents to be supportive.
  • Nearly 88 percent of parents consider their child’s teacher a partner in achieving success in school, but just over half of teachers, 54 percent, feel that parents do their part at home to ensure that kids get the most out of classroom learning.
  • The majority of parents, 8 out of 10, feel their child’s teachers are well equipped with the skills necessary to communicate with them.
  • Although 48 percent of parents feel that their opinion is always taken seriously by their child’s teachers, only 17 percent of teachers feel their opinion is taken seriously just as often by their students’ parents.

More at the link.