OFT's strategy to redefine education through ESSA began shortly after the federal law was signed in late 2015. In order to be effective in the improvements in education we advocated for, we knew we must tap in to the expertise of classroom educators who know best what kinds of changes would genuinely improve education for students. We recognized the significance of the educator voice in making changes that would bring back the joy of teaching and learning.
OFT set out to discuss with members the opportunities that exist with ESSA, gather your input and ensure your voices are heard in development of a state implementation plan. Our strategy includes multiple opportunities to share your input.
In August we took our campaign to the public to create partnerships with parents and community members to raise our collective voices around common visions for public education. We launched a TV ad Aug. 22 highlighting the frustrations and passions of educators and parents who want Ohio's education system to do better for our children. See the ad.
To coincide with the exposure generated by the TV ad, we launched www.ESSAOpportunity.org to share the importance of this opportunity with parents and community members. The site captures some of the key topics and questions educators, parents and community members can ask state and district decision makers in conversations to advocate for the kinds of changes that we know will improve education for our students.
Each state must review ESSA and create a plan to implement requirements of the law. OFT continues to gather member input on ESSA as we and other stakeholders collaborate with the state in its creation of an implementation plan. OFT intends to maximize its participation in this process. To best represent member needs, we need you to share with us your ideas and expertise to inform implemetation of the new ESSA.
In March, April and May we held member input sessions in OFT locals to talk with you about the opportunities and your ideas. If you were not able to attend these member input sessions, you can share your input by emailing us your ideas about ESSA.
OFT hosted a tele town hall conference call and a webinar to both make members aware of the opportunities via ESSA and gather your ideas about the changes that would improve education for students and educators.
After gathering member input, member work groups drafted OFT's platform for redefining education that explains opportunities to improve education in Ohio with meaningful change. More information will be presented to the OFT Executive Committee and Executive Council leadership groups in September. Talk to your local representatives to these leadership groups to share your ideas on how to improve education and exercise your voice in the process via ESSA.