The Beatings Will Cease When Your Morale Improves

The newly-elected Ohio General Assembly has submitted its plan for educators in the new Ohio of Governor John Kasich and the Tea Party. Without (and even, perhaps, with) strenuous intervention, Ohio’s public schools will be poorer in nearly every conceivable way.

We thought we might be in trouble when the STRS Board swallowed hard and produced the plan which became House Bill 69, which will cut teacher pensions. We knew we had an enemy when a Fairfield representative submitted House Bill 21, which would incorporate student test scores in teacher licensure, make exceptions for Teach for America alumni, and permit unlimited licensing of e-schools, which replace teachers with computers.

Pernicious legislation grows in Columbus like kudzu, but we’ve been able to beat back legislative assaults before. This time we face an attack which would change the very rules of the game: last week, Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) submitted Senate Bill 5, which would neuter unions and thus drastically limit our ability to do anything about other legislative horrors.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, Governor Kasich, while steadfastly refusing to have any communications with public employee unions, has indicated that Senator Jones’s bill doesn’t go far enough, and that he may incorporate anti-union language in the 2011-13 budget which the law requires him to submit by March 15.
In forty years of watching Ohio defy its constitution’s call for a “thorough and efficient system of common schools,” I have never seen this concentrated a campaign against public schools and the people who work there. If you care about public education in Ohio, you need to take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that your voice is heard.
Look for more in this space.

Author: StgCoach

Retired teacher and public education leader. Pastoral musician, community activist, parliamentarian, and photographer.