Saturday, February 11, 2012

Grandparents again.....
February 11, 2012
Congratulations to (former STRS Board member) Dennis and Nikki Leone, who became the proud grandparents of two granddaughters, born ten hours apart (February 9 and 10) to their daughters in Colorado and Ohio! Yes, there was some pretty wild scrambling by several grandparents to help out with both babies' two-year-old brothers to free up the daddies in all the excitement, particularly since the due dates had been about two weeks apart. Everybody is doing just fine, though I suspect the grandparents may have acquired a few more gray hairs in the last few days.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Kasich's backdoor SB 5 plan for public schools to wipe out seniority and take away other negotiated benefits

From John Curry, February 9, 2012
Will educators fall for it? Will the public even care since it doesn't affect firefighters or police?
Plan to overhaul public schools similar to SB5

By Laura A. Bischoff, Columbus Bureau
February 9, 2012
(Click image to enlarge.)

COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich loves Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s ambitious plan to overhaul the city’s failing public schools, but its chances of being a statewide model may rest with its similarities to the failed Senate Bill 5 collective bargaining plan.

“Certainly, Senate Bill 5 poses a real challenge to this because many of provisions of this were also in Senate Bill 5,” said Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “I would love to try some of this stuff in Dayton. It’s just not the right time.”

In his State of the State speech Tuesday, Kasich said, “I’m counting on Cleveland to deliver the goods.”

Kasich continued: “We can change urban education in Ohio and change the urban education in America. And that is worth fighting for and risking for.”

Kasich said he would work with Jackson, a Democrat, on the reform plan.

The plan calls for state law changes to give the district more autonomy, eliminate seniority as the sole factor for employee layoffs or assignments, require differentiated pay to attract talented teachers and principals, mandate that Cleveland schools and unions begin future contract negotiations without carryover items from previous agreements, and provide targeted funding for year-round schools, high-performing charter schools and other initiatives.

It begs the question: Is this something Kasich would like to see spread to other urban districts such as Dayton, Springfield and Middletown?

Kasich Press Secretary Rob Nichols on Wednesday declined to discuss details of any upcoming education reform efforts and said Kasich’s policy team is digging into Jackson’s plan. And the governor was short on details about what the Cleveland plan might mean for other urban school districts.

The governor told his audience Tuesday that state leaders need to analyze successful models, such as high-performing charter schools in Cleveland and Wells Academy in Steubenville where elementary school students scored the highest in the state on achievement tests. “We need to study them, find out what works, be data-driven and do it,” he said.

Lehner called Cleveland’s plan “very bold and innovative” and said the parts of it that closely mirror SB 5 were provisions that polled well with Ohio voters even though they didn’t like the entire bill.

“The challenge here is to get people to understand this isn’t just a rerun of Senate Bill 5,” she said. “This takes the best of Senate Bill 5. It doesn’t touch any of the other public employees. It doesn’t touch a lot of the other things they didn’t like about Senate Bill 5.”

David Romick, president of the Dayton Education Association, said he would rather rely on open communication at a local level than changes in state law.

“We are improving,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s a product of the relationship between the union and management.”

Dayton Schools scored “continuous improvement” on the state report card and beat the statewide high school graduation rate by a hair, though it doesn’t meet the statewide standard of 90 percent. Overall, the district met two of 26 statewide standards.

That performance easily beat the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, which Jackson quite openly says is a mess.

According to his plan, the district is in academic watch, has a 63 percent high school graduation rate, only 43 percent of fifth-graders tested proficient in reading, 30 percent of fifth-graders tested proficient in math, and enrollment dropped by 3,000 students in the last decade.

The district is controlled by a board appointed by the mayor.

Romick said education isn’t a one-size-fits-all system. “What may work in Cleveland doesn’t necessarily work in Dayton or Akron or Columbus.”

The Ohio Education Association, which represents 124,000 teachers including those in four of the eight largest urban districts, isn’t interested in any plan that brings back elements of Senate Bill 5.

As long as there is mutual trust and respect, OEA spokeswoman Michele Prater said, “Unions representing teachers can work well with school administrators to improve schools while still honoring the principles of collective bargaining.”

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

STRS Board to meet February 15-16, 2012

From STRS, February 8, 2012
The State Teachers Retirement Board and Committee meetings currently scheduled at the STRS Ohio offices, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, are as follows:
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
...10 a.m. Disability Review Panel and Final Average Salary Committee (Executive Session)
Thursday, February 16, 2012
...9 a.m. Retirement Board Meeting
The Retirement Board meeting will come to order on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, and begin with a Report From the Finance Department followed by the next segment of the Asset/Liability Study, a Report From the Investment Department, the Executive Director's Report, public participation, resumption of the Finance Department, a Report From the Member Benefits Department - Health Care, routine matters, old business, new business and any other matters requiring attention.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Hey, Governor, you can run (clear to Steubenville), but you can't hide!

Steubenville 2.7.12 at Gov. Kasich's State-of-the State address

Tom Harker and a song for Gov. Kasich 2.7.12, Steubenville, OH

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Minutes for the January 19, 2012 CORE Meeting

From CORE, February 5, 2012
After President Dave Parshall opened the January Concerned Ohio Retired Educators (CORE) meeting at 12:25, Kathie Bracy moved that we suspend reading of November minutes since people had already read them either online or on paper prior to the opening of the meeting. The nine attendees approved her suggestion.
President Parshall declared that the treasury was the same. Along the line of treasury information, he let the group know that he’ll be checking again with our attorney about our tax status.
A lengthy discussion about ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and its effects on Ohio legislation and CORE ensued. A consensus was reached that it does appear that there are forces out there who’d like to destroy public education.
The members also discussed teacher evaluations…and how teachers and retirees should be asked for input and help.
President Dave reminded the group that once we know precisely the direction the pension reform is headed, we'll need to spring into action. Retirees will be called upon to write letters, call, visit legislators, and even knock on doors.
All members are encouraged to e-mail or call President Dave with items that you’d like to have discussed and/or explored at CORE meetings. That way when he prepares the agenda for the meeting, he can insert your suggestions and plan to have time for adequate discussion. Time is often limited and sometimes things get rushed in order for members to go back upstairs to the afternoon session of the STRS Board meeting, so having specific items ahead of time helps us stick to a limited time frame.
The meeting adjourned at 1:25 with President Parshall reminding the members that our next meeting would be in April - although retirees might want to attend the STRS Board Meeting in February and/or March.
Respectfully submitted,
Marie M. Fetters
CORE Secretary
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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