Ohio’s Biennial Budget Results in Missed Opportunities for Students and Communities

OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement on Ohio’s biennial operating budget, HB 166, that was signed by Governor DeWine today:

The budget that was signed today is marked by missed opportunities to fix our broken and unconstitutional school funding formula, to close reckless tax loopholes, and to end school takeovers that disenfranchise local communities.

Our members have been calling for increased funding for wraparound services in our public schools for years, and we appreciate that Governor DeWine and the legislature made that a priority in this year’s budget with $675 million in additional spending. However, our school districts still need a fair and equitable formula that allows them to know what their funding levels will be so they can make the investments needed in their districts. We look forward to the continuing work that Representatives Cupp and Patterson are doing to fund our future with a new school funding formula.

Weingarten: Educators must save democracy

“Teachers have always had power,” AFT President Randi Weingarten told the crowd at the TEACH opening plenary Thursday afternoon. “We need to own our power. And we need to build our power so we can move our agenda—for our students and our families; for safe, welcoming and well-funded public schools; for affordable higher education; healthcare that is a right, not a privilege; a living wage; a decent retirement; a healthy climate and a strong democracy.”

OFT President Melissa Cropper: Legislature Should Stop Using Budget to Pass Policy

“The policies that shape education for Ohio’s children are too important to be rushed through as add-ons to the state budget, especially when there is so little support for those policies that they have been unable to advance out of committee, as is the case with the Senate’s expansion of EdChoice vouchers,” said Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper.

Best economy ever?

In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest column in the New York Times, she writes that, despite President Trump’s claims that we have the “best economy ever,” his policies are harming working and middle-class Americans, many of whom are struggling just to get by. “Our political and economic systems are so weighted toward the wealthy that opportunity will only come through the power of collective action,” she writes, using “the surest vehicles to increase opportunity for ordinary Americans”—public education, labor unions and voting. Read the full column.

Early childhood support requires adequate staffing

Some of education’s biggest problems come with its littlest students. At a working breakfast for paraprofessionals in prekindergarten, early childhood and Head Start, members swapped strategies for solving problems. Their discussion came during the AFT PSRP conference last week in Las Vegas, where paras from all over the country zeroed in on professional development and adequate classroom coverage.