Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Are Ohio: A Campaign for Public Employees

Okay friends, I have made an effort not to get political on my blog, but I just wanted to share a little bit about what is going on in Ohio at the moment.  In November, we will be going to the polls to vote on a referendum that will either pass or overturn Senate Bill 5 (Issue 2).

Our governor is piggy-backing off of the legislation that was passed in Wisconsin.  Governor Kasich is blaming teachers, firefighters, policemen, and nurses for the financial problems Ohio is facing. I don't want to do any bashing or criticizing on my blog.  However, I feel like no matter where we teach, we are really in this all together.  What happened in Wisconsin is affecting us in Ohio, so I want to let all of you know what's happening in our state.  We already have a three year pay freeze in my district... and I can only pray that I will see an increase for my formally mandated, but no longer enforced Masters degree once the three years pass.  It looks like this is only the beginning...

Here's a brief overview:

What's in SB 5?  (Source)

•Collective bargaining rights reduced for all Ohio public workers SB 5 preserves wording from Ohio's existing collective bargaining law that gives public workers the right to collectively bargain wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment. However, the bill contains numerous exceptions -- some broad in scope -- that severely limit, or outright prohibit, the terms and conditions subject to collective bargaining. For example, SB 5 lists 15 topics that management can refuse to negotiate. These issues include employees' qualifications and work assignments. The bill also lists topics that cannot be negotiated under any circumstances, including health care benefits costs (locked in at a minimum 15-percent employee contribution) and the number of workers required to be on duty or employed in any department of a public employer.

•Safety forces could lose right to negotiate for protective equipment.

•Workers who strike could be jailed.   SB 5 bans all public workers from striking and establishes penalties for violating the ban. Under current law, only certain workers, such as police and firefighters, cannot strike. Under SB 5, employers could obtain a court order to halt any strike. Workers who violate the court order and continue to strike could be subject to a $1,000 fine and/or punishments in state law for contempt of court. A first offense for contempt is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to a $250 fine.

•Teachers could not negotiate class sizes Among the topics teachers cannot collectively bargain in SB 5 is "a maximum number of students who may be assigned to a classroom or teacher."

•Teachers' salaries tied to test scores SB 5 sets standards of performance that will determine how much teachers are paid. The standards are: the teacher's level of license; whether the teacher is considered a "highly qualified teacher," as defined by law; a "value-added measure" of student performance; teacher evaluations; and any other criteria the school board establishes. The performance-based salary schedules will vary by school district, but standardized test scores are a type of value-added measurement elsewhere in Ohio law.

•Public university professors could lose collective bargaining rights.

18 comments:

  1. It's the same jumbled mess here in Michigan! It's heart breaking to see how things are shaping up. Good luck to Ohio teachers in the coming election.

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  2. Good luck! People know our job is more like a calling and is important. Just keep informing the public that you need their help.

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  3. I am a teacher in Wisconsin...I feel your pain! Good luck to all of you in Ohio. You are all amazing teachers!

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  4. Live in Wisconsin too....BIG time bummer!

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  5. I feel your pain, being a fellow Ohioan...and teacher!! I'm a newer teacher, too...it's SO discouraging to just be starting my teaching career and hearing about what could happen. UGH! Hang in there - we all have to get the truth out about how much this will affect Ohio's future!!

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  6. I also live in Wisconsin :( when did teachers become the bad guys?


    Jennifer

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  7. Thanks for posting this!! You are right, no matter where we teach we are all in this together!

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  8. Ugh I live in NJ. It is so awful, even neighbors starting asking me questions based on things in the Newspaper. I really am just glad I am not LA republican John Fleming. I really feel awful for him...he only has 400K left AFTER feeding his family. I was thinking we should chip in and give him part of our HUGE teaching salaries.

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  9. I hate that they are tying in test performance with pay scale. Sometimes no matter how awesome a teacher you are.... you get a group that just may not perform as well as other groups. That should not determine how "good" of a teacher someone is. Ugh!

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  10. Sounds like a carbon copy of what's happening here in Michigan. I keep expecting Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind a bush and say, "Teachers...you've been punk'd!" That's how ridiculous these bills/laws have gotten.

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  11. I will keep my fingers crossed for you! I was born and raised in Ohio but I've been in Nevada for about 20 years. We have a lot of the same things happening here. I'm finishing classes just hoping they will still count towards a raise! So frustrating!
    ☺Jody

    Camp Kindergarten

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  12. That is terrible. Why is this world so ridiculous???

    Marvelous Multiagers!

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  13. ...Same thing going on here in Nevada! We are working without a contract and have not had raises in some time. We are currently in danger of losing our health trust as well. Hang in there! I believe this is not the general consensus among voters, or at least I hope so.

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  14. Hang in there. Don't be afraid to stand up for what is right for Teachers and best for Kids. I live in Tacoma WA and our teachers are currently on strike over these very same issues. The distric and media are making the teachers out to be the bad guys. It's so sad.

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  15. They just did the same thing to us in TN. Our teacher's union is basically worthless now. We got a new evaluation system, so we all have to be evaluated all over again, and student test scores count for 15% of our total score. The test scores are scary to me, because I had several students who came to me reading on a pre-primer level. It is highly unlikely that I will have them on grade level by April when we test.
    I don't understand how this is happening to teachers and other public employees... The world has indeed gone mad.

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  16. If we don't speak up, nobody will know: The "mainstream" (regular) news doesn't really speak of these things - you only find them on the cable shows - and both groups (dem and rep) push their own views. I don't understand this current climate. It's disheartening.

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  17. Amanda Thank you for posting about the plight of Ohio teachers, police officers, fire fighters, Highway patrol and other public servants who serve the public. I helped circulate petitions to get the repeal on the ballot this fall. I am working hard to help all of us keep the rights we should have. I never have been politically active ( I vote each time) but never had pushed an agenda like I have had to fight for this one. Keep up the good fight. All of you in Ohio - vote No on this bill- we have worked hard too hard to have it taken away again. Thank you!
    Randy in Ohio

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  18. I live in Wi and think this has been a blessing for our state! We are now free from our oppressive teacher's union, the state and schools have more insurance options which will save them money (for the exact coverage) and this is starting to trickle down into our paychecks ALREADY! It is a wild wide but I couldn't be happier than to be a nonunion teacher in WI!

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