Education Issues and Professional Development Update - February, 2021

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Our February email on education issues and professional development includes updates on: the State Board of Education, Democracy Lessons, Teacher Evaluations, the Resident Educator Program, Share My Lesson Black History Month Lessons, and the RAND American Teacher Panel. 

If you are an OFT member and have any questions about the content, you can reach out to your local's President, Professional Learning Contact, or Building Representative, or you can email us at

State Board of Education

The State Board of Education met on Monday and Tuesday, February 8th and 9th. The committee structure was revamped, creating two new committees. The committees and their chairs are as follows:

  • Emerging Issues and Operational Standards (NEW) chaired by Antoinette Miranda;
  • Integrated Student Supports chaired by Charlotte McGuire;
  • Performance and Impact (NEW) chaired by Paul LaRue;
  • Teaching, Leading, and Learning chaired by Martha Manchester.

Topics discussed included an introduction of the Governor’s biennial budget proposal, the ODE performance audit, an equity presentation by Athens schools, two member-introduced resolutions, and a discussion of rule changes for child care licensure. The rules were initially enacted as emergency rules in response to the pandemic and only apply to the pandemic. There is a proposal by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to make the rules permanent. The law requires that ODE rules meet or exceed ODJFS rules.

More details:

Will You Help Develop Lessons So Our Kids Know About Defenders of Democracy?

With the turbulent spring and summer our country has experienced as well as the difficult times spurred by the 2020 Presidential election, it is becoming clear that our students need another tool to help them understand how our democracy came to be, including the many struggles faced to ensure that all American citizens have equal access to everything our democracy provides. Toledo Federation of Teachers member, and past Ohio Teacher of the Year, Mona Al-Hayani led a team of AFT teachers from around the country, who worked together this summer to create student-friendly classroom lessons. These democracy themed lessons focus on fighting for social and racial justice and are titled Defenders of Democracy. You can access the Defenders of Democracy lessons here.

These lessons are designed to “meet the moment” and help students learn from the civil rights struggles of the past while becoming more engaged with the community activism of today. We believe the AFT lessons are a terrific start in the series. The OFT Professional Learning Committee and members of the Human Rights Committee met jointly to explore the feasibility and our options for further lesson development. As we reviewed them, we began to look at the need to add to these lessons with both current "defenders" and lessons at the elementary school level.

The result of the discussion is that we believe our members would be the perfect people to develop lessons that can be added to the collection. We know there are many of you who have an expertise for creating lessons and may have already created and written lessons with this theme. We invite OFT members to consider creating or sharing authentic lessons to add to our catalogue.  

Is there someone, some event, some concept that you believe is important for your students to study and learn from? This is a chance to create the lesson to add to your students’ understanding of democracy.  

We will help get you started and support you should you need help in the process. OFT is offering a $200 stipend per each lesson that is accepted by the committee. We would like the lessons to be completed by July 31, 2021 in time to promote them for use by our members in the 2021-2022 school year. If you are interested in participating, contact Deb Tully at or your local president who can contact OFT.

Teacher Evaluation for the 2020-2021 School Year

HB 404 allows for districts to waive teacher evaluation for the 2020-2021 school year. By now there should have been discussions between the union and the administration in your districts as to whether to waive or not. One caution, based on recent questions we have received, is that the process must be waived or fully implemented.  


A school district board of education may elect not to conduct an evaluation of a teacher, school counselor, administrator or superintendent for the 2020-2021 school year if the district board determines that it would be impossible or impracticable to do so. The district board may collaborate with bargaining organizations in determining whether to complete evaluations and should strive for fairness and consistency when making these decisions. The COVID-19 exemption should be selected in the electronic reporting system when evaluations are not completed per board determination. As a reminder, all evaluations must either be completed or closed with an exemption.

Here is the link to the law that requires the number of observations (note section A3).

While there is local control, a decision cannot be made that is less than what is required by law. And, eTPES and Ohio ES (the new sTPES that goes with OTES 2.0) will not allow for incomplete reporting as they are set up to receive the information the law requires and will kick back that the evaluation is incomplete.

So, while it is local control whether to waive evaluations or not, the waiver applies to either doing the whole process or not.

For more information, here is the ODE web page that outlines Evaluation requirements.

Resident Educator Changes

HB 422, which passed December 12, 2020, made some significant changes to the Resident Educator Program. The program has been reduced from 4 years to 2 years. Changes will not take effect until March of 2023 in order to allow for time for the State Board of Education, with recommendations by the Educator Standards Board, to determine how the program will be condensed as well as how the law affects those teachers already in the program.

The performance assessment will still be required, though it does not specify that it will be the RESA. The ESB will make a recommendation to the State Board of Education on this issue along with the new parameters of the program. However, the bill exempts career tech teachers with an alternate resident educator license from taking any performance-based assessment.

We will keep you posted on this issue.

Share My Lesson Black History Month Lessons

It is not too late to include lessons for Black History Month. This collection from Share My Lesson will engage your students.

RAND American Teacher Panel

You may have received a letter from the RAND American Teacher Panel asking for your participation in research they are doing. With participation comes an Amazon gift card. AFT supports this research initiative. If you would like to participate, please do so.