Teachers endorse candidates, present Friend of Public Education awards

Share This

(March 1, 2016) The 2016 Ohio Federation of Teachers Convention concluded with endorsements for five candidates for state Representative and Senator.

OFT endorsed Catherine Ingram (D), Jill Miller Zimon (D) and Tommy Greene (D) for state Representative, and Emily Hagan (D) and Kristen Rock (D) for state Senate. Endorsements are based on a candidate's demonstrated track record of support for the public education and public services that make our communities strong, their positions on issues surveyed by a candidate questionnaire and campaign platform.

These candidates join Brigid Kelly (D) who was previously endorsed by OFT for state Representative.

Endorsements were made during the 2016 OFT Convention in Columbus Feb. 25-27.

Convention activities included the presentation of Friends of Public Education awards. This year's winners included Ed "Flash" Ferenc whose radio show is broadcast on America's Workforce Radio. Ferenc's broadcasts focus on labor issues to help his audiences understand issues facing workers and workers' rights. Darlene Kamine and Annie Bogenshutz with the Community Learning Center Institute were awarded for their work to provide wraparound services in schools as a way to raise student achievement. Such programs have achieved tremendous success in Cincinnati Public Schools in partnership with teachers there.

State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D) received a Friend of Public Education award for sponsoring HB 70 to allow schools statewide to create community learning centers as a turnaround option. CLCs bring services into the school that meet student and community needs so students are ready and undistracted from learning.

State Sen. Gayle Manning (R) received a Friend of Public Education award for opposing an amendment to House Bill 70 to allow the state takeover of public schools. Manning previously supported workers' rights by opposing Senate Bill 5 to eliminate collective bargaining rights.

State Rep. John Patterson (D) received a Friend of Public Education award for his leadership on House Bill 2 to create accountability for charter schools. Patterson also worked with Ashtabula schools to set up a community learning center model there.

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D) received a Friend of Public Education award for his leadership on higher education and pension issues that resulted in increased college funding. He serves on the Ohio Retirement Study Council.

Several other legislators joined convention delegates for a luncheon presentation by Dana Goldstein, author of the bestselling book "The Teacher Wars." They include state Sens. Peggy Lehner (R), who chairs the Senate Education Committee, Cecil Thomas (D) and Jim Hughes (R) as well as state Reps. Kent Smith (D) and Teresa Fedor (D). State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) spoke to delegates about voter rights.

Delegates overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting comprehensive regional meetings with educators to gather their expertise and input on ways to implement the new federal law Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The resolution responds to the Ohio Department of Education's rushed timeline to develop a plan, the pace of which ignores opportunities to collaborate in a meaningful way with stakeholders. OFT proposed regional meetings that would be more accessible to more educators in the evening after school versus daytime meetings in Columbus for which teachers would have to leave their classrooms and travel in order to participate. ESSA requires states to collaborate on the plan with stakeholders, including teachers.