Mutual trust and respect

It's a simple, honest message, "As long as there is mutual trust and respect, Unions representing teachers can work well with school administrators to improve schools while still honoring the principles of collective bargaining." ~ OEA spokeswoman Michele Prater.

As opposed to "Gov. Kasich Supports Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's Plan to Overhaul Schools Because it is Similar to SB 5".

Mayor Frank Jackson and the state legislature, having consistently failed to show trust and respect on this issue, should begin to do so before moving any further forward with this corporate education plan. If this sentiment has any substance, the Governor should ensure that happens.

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There's a long way to go before SB5 is repealed.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?

The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

WHEN we don’t get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don’t blame the soldiers. We don’t say, “It’s these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That’s why we haven’t done better in Afghanistan!” No, if the results aren’t there, we blame the planners. We blame the generals, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No one contemplates blaming the men and women fighting every day in the trenches for little pay and scant recognition.

And yet in education we do just that. When we don’t like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don’t like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.

Compare this with our approach to our military: when results on the ground are not what we hoped, we think of ways to better support soldiers. We try to give them better tools, better weapons, better protection, better training. And when recruiting is down, we offer incentives.

We have a rare chance now, with many teachers near retirement, to prove we’re serious about education. The first step is to make the teaching profession more attractive to college graduates. This will take some doing.

At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

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20 years after DeRolph case school funding in Ohio isn't fixed

Nate DeRolph knows a lot about how Ohio finances public education. Twenty years ago, a lawsuit bearing his name was filed in Perry County challenging the state's school funding system.

The case was filed by the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding on behalf of children who were being educated in schools similar to DeRolph's.

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Rallys around the State on Tuesday

This week marks a critical turning point in the fight to protect not only our collective bargaining rights, but public education itself. On Tuesday, Governor Kasich will unveil details of his first two-year budget. Given a looming $8 billion deficit, cuts to K-12 public education and higher education are expected to be steep and painful. Furthermore, the governor has said that it include many "reforms," not the least of which will involve diverting taxpayer dollars to unproven charter schools and voucher programs that support private schools.

Against this backdrop, it is critically important that we have a huge turnout of members at Tuesday's "Stand Up for Ohio" rallies. Twelve such rallies will be held across the state, and the only one in Central will be held at Westerville Central High School (7118 Mount Royal Ave., Westerville) from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. (This marks a change in location from what had originally been planned for the Westerville Public Library.)

Please spread the word and encourage all of your fellow members, along with their families, friends, and supporters to be there with you. This rally will take place just blocks from Governor Kasich's home and will be a great message to send a loud and clear message, right in his backyard, that policies are wrong for the middle class, wrong for children, and wrong for the future of our state.

For those of you who live a distance away from Columbus, there are similar rallies taking place in the Dayton area (at the corner of Maple St. and E. National Rd. in Vandalia), in Portsmouth (at Shawnee State University), and in Mansfield (in the Main St. Town Square), all beginning at 5:00.

There is also a rally scheduled for next Saturday, March 19, on the square in downtown Newark at noon. (Arrive at 11:00.)

Also, please continue to contact your representatives by email and telephone.

Call 1-888-907-7309 or the Direct line listed below to let your representative in the House hear from you on why SB 5 needs to be stopped.