Yesterday, the House Education resumed hearings on Senate Bill 229, the bill that seeks to amend Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System. The current version of the bill is radically different than the original version that passed the Ohio Senate unanimously. The original version, a very reasonable bill, was hijacked by the House Education Committee and proposes absurd and unnecessary changes.
During the meeting yesterday, the committee received testimony from 18 different people, but only two of those people testified in opposition to the new bill while sixteen expressed their support. Of those sixteen proponents, fifteen stated that they are members of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization. The lone opponents of the bill represented the Ohio Education Association and a collaboration of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, and the Ohio School Boards Association. This disparity in the testimony is appalling and we must take immediate action to correct it so that the members of the House Education Committee know that teachers and principals alike support the original version of SB 229 and not this horrendous replacement.
We need teachers and principals alike to flood the House Education Committee chairman with testimony that expresses our position on this bill. Since the committee has chosen to meet at 9:00 am on a Wednesday morning when educators are obviously unable to attend, we must instead take advantage of the opportunity to provide official written testimony — emails and phone calls are no longer enough.
Below is the testimony provided by Matt Dotson representing OEA:
Chairman Stebelton, Ranking Minority Member Fedor and members of the House Education Committee, my name is Matthew Dotson and I am with the Ohio Education Association (OEA) in the Government Relations Division. On behalf of our 122,000 members, the OEA strongly opposes the House substitute bill for Senate Bill (SB) 229.
The changes made in House Sub. SB 229 so fundamentally alters the content and purpose of the unanimously passed Senate bill as to leave it virtually unrecognizable. Instead of supporting teachers and administrators by providing local flexibility in key areas of Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System (OTES), the House substitute bill only adds more burdens and complexities. The predominant effect of the House substitute bill is not to make teacher evaluations more accurate and fair; rather, it is to make them more convoluted.
The OEA continues to support the Senate-passed version of SB 229, which would provide the local flexibility and innovation needed to help make teacher evaluations more effective, fair and efficient. Such an approach would best support the efforts of teachers and administrators to deliver a high-quality education to every student.
Thank you for your consideration.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Using the above testimony and our previous posts about SB229 to guide you, type up your own personal testimony about the teacher evaluation system and your support for the original, Senate version of SB 229. Your testimony does not need to be elaborate — the simpler the better. If you wish, include a personal story (especially principals who have spent an inordinate amount of time conducting evaluations this year). Include your name, where you work, and your address (to prove that you represent Ohio educators).
Send your written testimony as an attachment by email to Chairman Gerald Stebelton’s office before Tuesday, May 13, and email it via his legislative aide to Trint.Hatt@ohiohouse.gov with the subject line: Written Testimony Regarding Senate Bill 229
To ensure that the office has received your testimony, you may follow up by calling (614) 466-8100.
With over 100,000 teachers in Ohio, we simply cannot let a small vocal minority from an out-of-state organization like StudentsFirst dictate the laws regarding Ohio’s teacher evaluation system.
Submitting official written testimony into the House Education Committee record is what we must to make sure our voices are heard!
Write your testimony today and share this post with every teacher and principal you know. Encourage everyone to take a few minutes to write and email their testimony this weekend.
To view the skewed testimony from the May 7 committee meeting, go to the committee’s new website at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/education. This is where our testimony will all be posted next week.
Stand up and be counted!
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