The Educator-Activist’s To-Do List
As every educator knows, your work is never really done. All year round, your students are still counting on you to keep them on the path to a great education. They’re counting on you to help elect or re-elect pro-public education candidates, and then to hold those elected officials accountable for their decisions. It’s more important than ever to get informed and involved in local, state and national politics. These to-do’s will help you accomplish just that.
Sign up to be an OEA Advocate for Children and Education (ACE). It should take less than a minute. Once you complete this process you will be able to take immediate action on many issues that affect public education.
Invite your colleagues to sign up too. Sharing good resources is second nature to educators—so spread the word! Challenge yourself to to invite five others be an ACE.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Make sure everyone in your network knows that you care passionately about public education—and show them how they can help us defend it! “Like” OEA on Facebook and Follow OEA on Twitter, and share OEA’s posts on your Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Check out NEA’s Legislative Action Center for analysis of federal legislation that affects educators and students. You can also access NEA’s Congressional Report Card and the Ten Golden Rules of Lobbying, a list of great pointers on communicating with legislators. You’ll also find tips on drafting effective letters to the editor.
- Last but not least, make sure your vote will be counted and keep your voter registration current. Using the resources gathered in the EdVotes Voter Protection Center, you can register to vote or confirm that you are registered, and check the requirements for voter identification, residency and early voting.
Do you have other ideas of quick and easy things everyone can do to get politically involved? Share them on OEA's Facebook page.
Adapted from an article by Amanda Litvinov / Photo copyright Moyan Brenn
Current Legislative Alerts and Updates
Senate Bill 229 - Teacher Evaluation Bill Intended to Provide More Local Flexibility is Turned Upside Down by House Education Committee
The House Education Committee made drastic changes to Senate Bill 229 this week when it unveiled a new version of the bill. It turned the bill on its head and left it almost unrecognizable from the bill that was approved unanimously by the Ohio Senate. The changes to what had been a bi-partisan bill in the Senate were accepted by the House committee on a party-line vote, with all Democrats voting “No.” In comments to the committee, ranking Democrat and former teacher Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) said the bill had been “hijacked.” OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro urged the Committee to support the Senate-passed version of SB 229.
Stripped from the Senate version of the bill was a key provision that provided local flexibility to adjust the student growth measure portion of teacher evaluations to 35% from 50%. Further, the provision that would provide local flexibility to adjust the frequency of full annual evaluations for highly-rated teachers was diluted. More than 30 new provisions were added to the bill, including changes to various aspects of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). Click here to urge your Representative to oppose the new House version of Senate Bill 229.
Proposed Income Tax Cuts in HB 472 Shortchange Our Students
House Bill 472, the mid-biennium review, proposes to lower state income taxes by 8.5 percent over the next three years and reduce the highest income tax rate to 4.88%. Governor Kasich plans to pay for the income tax cut by increasing taxes on cigarettes over a two-year period, as well as increasing the commercial activity and severance taxes. The income tax cut is expected to reduce revenue by more than $2.1 billion over three years. Even when coupled with other tax changes, Ohio will lose an estimated $174 million in the General Revenue Fund over that period.
Take action today! Tell legislators that while House Bill 472 proposes increasing certain taxes, the revenue would go towards yet another round of income tax cuts that predominately favor wealthy Ohioans. Urge legislators not to support Kasich’s proposed income tax cuts and instead invest in Ohio’s students and public education.
Urge your Senator to Oppose House Bill 8 - The Wrong Approach to School Safety
On January 22, 2014, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 8 (Roegner, Kunze) by a vote of 63-29. OEA strongly opposes the legislation that seeks to exclude from collective bargaining the development and implementation of a protocol for the designation of school employees who may carry concealed weapons. The bill also would allow school boards to enter into executive session to designate which employees may carry concealed handguns and prohibits the disclosure of those names to parents, school employees and members of the public. Additionally, the bill requires the Ohio Attorney General to adopt training curriculum, but falls short of mandating that local school boards utilize the curriculum. Click here to send a letter to your Senator today!