Teachers Convene to Set Policy for Union

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Teacher Leaders Convene to Set Policy for Union

Ohio Federation of Teachers Convention in Columbus Feb. 21-23

COLUMBUS — Hundreds of educators will fill the halls of the Statehouse Thursday to talk with legislators about improving Ohio's public schools. Teachers, classroom aids, school support personnel and bus drivers will share stories of their experiences in our schools as examples of what should be changed as well as ideas on how to make improvements. View the agenda.

This lobby activity will open the 2013 Ohio Federation of Teachers Convention held in Columbus at the Sheraton at State and Third Streets across from the Statehouse.

* Reporters are invited to accompany educators on lobby visits as they speak with legislators. To make arrangements, contact Lisa Zellner at 614-619-2771c.

Lobby topics will include the use of value added measures to determine teacher effectiveness, pitfalls in Gov. Kasich's school funding plan, other proposed budget issues that impact education and public services, the need for flexibility in how teachers qualify to teach reading based on the third-grade reading guarantee, and support for Gov. Kasich's plan to expand Medicaid.

The OFT Convention begins Thursday with a State of the Union address by President Melissa Cropper, her first such address since being elected to lead the statewide union one year ago. She will discuss the current state of public education and suggest how Ohio's public schools can be made stronger through collaboration between state officials and teachers along with their unions. Cropper will challenge elected officials to make policy changes that benefit student achievement rather than simply reduce expenses since cutbacks tend to harm performance outcomes.

Following a panel discussion on Making Educator Effectiveness Work for Ohio, convention delegates will issue a call for legislators to change the way value added assessments are used. Currently, value added measures account for 50 percent of information used to determine teacher effectiveness. Research shows value added measures are not designed nor do they accurately measure teacher performance. Value added data is a powerful tool for informing teachers about the best approach for a student. While an improvement over some other methods, value-added modeling is still inaccurate, so test scores should not dominate the information used by school officials in making high-stakes decisions about the evaluation, discipline and compensation of teachers. OFT leaders will call for Ohio to improve evaluations by putting a resolution up for a vote by convention delegates.

Friends of Public Education Awards will be announced Friday. This year's recipients are state Board of Education members Mary Rose Oakar, Jeff Mims and Ann Jacobs. All three are champions for public education. As members of the state school board they demonstrate both in discussion and through their votes that they seek to ensure a positive teaching and learning environment in all of Ohio's schools.

This year's keynote speaker for Saturday's breakfast session is Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. A champion of equal rights in all corners of society, Beatty is a strong supporter of public education.

OFT Convention Schedule:

Thursday, Feb. 21

10am - OFT President Melissa Cropper

11am-1pm - lobby visits

Friday, Feb. 22

9am - Friends of Public Education Awards

10:30am - Vote on a resolution calling on legislators to change teacher evaluations

Saturday, Feb. 23

9am - Congresswoman Joyce Beatty keynote speaker

Reporters are invited to observe convention sessions. For credentials, contact Lisa Zellner at 614-619-2771.