Education Issues and Professional Development Update - April 2021

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Please read below for information on: the State Board of Education, our Conversation Guide on Developing Extended Learning Plan, Democracy Lessons, the Resident Educator Program, AFT Teach, PSRP Virtual Conference, and more!

State Board of Education

The State Board of Education met April 12-13, 2021. The major issues addressed by the board were surrounding two resolutions. One of the resolutions was written in support of the concepts put forth in the Cupp-Patterson Funding bill. Voting on this resolution was put off until next month. The reason given by those who supported postponement was that they wanted to see how the legislation was unfolding before weighing in. Those who wanted to vote on the resolution this month preferred to put forth the board’s support of items that can be included in a school funding plan so legislators can consider the support in their deliberations.

Read the Board’s resolution here

Here is a summary of the discussion.

The second resolution was in support of what the board supports in terms of reforming the state report card. Among those things supported by the board is an elimination of the A-F labeling system. 

Read the board’s resolution here

Here is a summary of the discussion:

The board also voted on a rule change that would affect course offerings in high school. Read about it here.

Conversation Guide on Developing Extended Learning Plans

OFT and AFT developed this document to facilitate conversations between locals and administrators as they work collaboratively to address the immediate needs coming out of the pandemic, as well as ways to approach learning in the future. Originally a project of OFT’s Professional Learning Committee, this guide was adapted by AFT into a document that locals across the country can use. 

Read and download the Conversation Guide on Developing Extended Learning Plans.

Nonrenewable Temporary Licenses Expiring Soon!

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department was granted authority to issue non-renewable, one-year temporary licenses to applicants who met all other qualifications for licensure but were unable to complete their required licensure examinations. Candidates should make arrangements to take their licensure exams now to obtain standard or alternative licenses before their temporary licenses expire on July 1.

The law requires that candidates coming into the teaching profession pass their required licensure exams to get their first license. For those teachers who have been unable to pass the required licensure exam in time (even with the extension) to get their permanent license, there is an option. If the district is willing to continue the teacher’s employment, the teacher may get a substitute teacher license and continue working in the district giving them time to pass their test. It is a local determination, though negotiation with the union, as to the salary the teacher will receive. If you have questions, contact Deb Tully (dtully@oft-aft.org)

Law Governing Resident Educator (RE) Requirements Introduced

HB151 has been introduced to make further changes to the RE Program (REP). In the last General Assembly, the REP was reduced to two years of mentoring with a summative assessment still required. The changes would not take place until the 2023 school year and it would be the responsibility of the ODE (most likely through the Educator Standards Board) to create the new parameters. HB151 makes a further change where the responsibility for creating the new parameters of the REP would be assigned to the Local Professional Development Committee (LPDC). In speaking with a variety of our REP coordinators and LPDC members, it appears that the LPDC has enough on its plate and it would be difficult to take on this task. Further, it sets up a situation in which there could be as many REPs throughout the state as there are districts. HB151 has not passed and is not a done deal which gives us time to work with legislators and oppose this change. 

Interested in Creating a Lesson to Promote Defenders of Democracy?

AFT has created a series of lessons called Defenders of Democracy. The lessons are intended to raise awareness of those people and events in history that supported social justice, human rights, and the growth of our democracy. Using these lessons of the past connections can be made to advocates and defenders of democracy in communities across the country in the present.

OFT’s Human Rights and Professional Learning Committees got together to discuss and review the lessons and decided that we, in Ohio, would like to address the needs for more current defenders and societal events as well as looking at lessons appropriate for elementary school.

We are recruiting members who are interested in creating lessons for this project. 

The Professional Learning and Human Rights Committees will review the lessons and will be compensated $200 per lesson accepted. Those interested are asked to:

  • Choose the grade level for the lesson.

  • Select a democracy leader or an historic event/concept to highlight.

  • Review the AFT template as a guide in developing the lesson.  The template can be found on the AFT web site where you can read the current lessons available through AFT. Here is the link: http://www.democracylessons.com/lessons.html

We would like these lessons created so we can promote them for the 2021-2022 school year.  

If you know a member who may be interested have them contact Deb Tully (dtully@oft-aft.org) The opportunity is open to any teacher in any content or grade level.

Save the Date for AFT TEACH (Registration information to come)

The AFT’s next biennial professional learning conference, TEACH (Together Educating America’s Children), will be held virtually July 6-10, 2021. TEACH 2021 will focus on ensuring students’ freedom to thrive and will address five key areas: 

•    Recovering and rebuilding academically from the COVID-19 pandemic 
•    Social emotional learning 
•    Student and educator well-being 
•    Creating anti-racist classrooms, schools and districts 
•    Civics throughout the curriculum 

Plan to Attend AFT's PSRP Virtual Conference

AFT will hold its annual PSRP Conference: From Surviving to Thriving - PSRPs on the Frontline.  The 44th annual conference will be meeting virtually to share best practices, tactics and strategies for organizing, and the camaraderie and “can do” spirit of PSRPs.

Register here for this year’s conference to celebrate not just surviving, but thriving. Because of the resilience and resourcefulness of school and college staff, public schools and colleges will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.

This free virtual conference will help equip members with the tools they need to strengthen our unions for the challenges we face now with COVID-19 and reopening as well as our ongoing fight for dignity, respect and living wages. Encourage your members to register!  Without the traditional costs of travel and lodging, the 2021 conference is accessible to even more members and locals than in previous years.

AFT's virtual conference will begin on the evening of Friday, April 23, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. EST, and continue on Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Details of conference sessions will become available soon.

New Public Service Announcement Unveiled for K-12 Schools: “The Future Depends on Teachers”

The Ohio Department of Education, in partnership with TEACH, announces “The Future Depends on Teachers,” a new public service announcement campaign for K-12 schools, airing in time for Teacher Appreciation Week. It celebrates the role teachers play in shaping the future and invites people to explore teaching at a time when teachers are needed more than ever.

This is a hero moment for the teaching profession. The pandemic presented K-12 education in Ohio with enormous challenges. Yet, despite these challenges, teachers across the state innovated, improvised and ultimately rose to meet this new reality head-on. Teachers are not only essential workers; they are crucial to developing the next generation of leaders who will shape the world.

“The Future Depends on Teachers” will air on TV and radio to inspire future teachers to explore the profession, celebrate the hard work of current teachers, and elevate the teaching profession among the general public. The spots communicate teachers’ impact not only on students, but on society. The spots end with a call for viewers to explore pursuing a career in teaching as a way to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy.