Education Issues and Professional Development Update - January, 2021

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Welcome to our first monthly update on education issues and professional development. If you have any questions about the content, you can reach out to your local's President, Professional Learning Contact, or Building Representative.
State Board of Education
The State Board of Education meets the second Monday and Tuesday of each month (except in August when they do not meet). The board met for the first time in 2021 on January 11 and 12. With the addition of 5 new members, the January meeting was an organizational meeting. Here is a summary of the voting for officers.
While the majority of the meeting was spent orienting members to the function of the board and the roles of different departments in the Ohio Department of Education that could be resources to State Board members, there was also testimony from the public on opening of schools and equity issues. Read the summary here.
College Credit Plus
College Credit Plus is up for five-year rule review this year. Having met with our K-12 and Higher Education locals, it is clear there are concerns from both perspectives. As the process of reviewing and rewriting the rules unfolds, there will be opportunity for public comment. When the postings requesting public comment occur, we will alert local union leaders so members have the opportunity to participate. We will keep you posted.
Educator Standards Board
The Educator Standards Board (ESB) has developed (and reviews at regular intervals) state standards for teachers, principals, superintendents, school treasurers, and school counselors at all stages of their careers; developed the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System; formulated standards for educator professional development; created the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators (LCPCDE), and as well as other issues of professionalism for educators. The ESB meets monthly.
OFT has three representatives on the board: Sandy Orth (Toledo Federation of Teachers), Jim Wagner (Cleveland Teachers Union), and Heather Stambaugh (Greenon Federation of Teachers). Jim is the chair of the ESB. You can learn more about the ESB here.
The Board met on January 15 for its first meeting of 2021. The ESB heard reports on Troops to Teachers, changes to the Resident Educator (RE) Program, and discussed developing a response to the State Boards Equity Resolution. HB409 has reduced the RE to two year from 4 years while retaining the summative assessment. The law takes effect in March 2023 to give the ESB time to recommend to the State Board accommodations that have to be made due to the changes. Board members reviewed the State Board Equity resolution and decided to write a letter of support for the board’s resolution as well as develop a list of action steps that can be taken within the scope of their work. This conversation is just beginning and will be continued in successive meetings.
COVID Updates
Vaccinations for K-12 educators and staff who choose to receive it will be beginning in a couple weeks. Please see the following information about this vaccine:
Additionally, the Ohio Department of Education maintains a web page that reflects guidance in relation to topics affected by COVID-19. When there are updates to testing requirements, safety issues, evaluation, licensure, graduation flexibility, or vaccines as well as other areas of concern which may change because of COVID-19, those changes will be addressed here. We suggest you bookmark this site so that when there are questions, you may be able to find the answers there as they will be updated regularly.
Share My Lesson
Share My Lesson (SML), where AFT offers free lesson plans, teacher resources, and classroom activities created by dedicated educators, is a valuable resource for all K-12 educators. SML reacts in real time to provide timely examples of what teachers can do in the classroom to address current issues as well as ongoing standards-based lessons.
The events of January 6th need to be addressed with students. SML has suggestions for and examples of how to approach this very important topic. There are two places on the SML site to find these resources.
In the wake of the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Lisa Thomas shares her thoughts on how school communities can address this situation and offers some useful, constructive ways to help students make sense of and navigate unprecedented historical events in their lifetime.
Share My Lesson updated this collection of resources to help educators facilitate meaningful discussions with students and communities about the attempt of a mob to infiltrate the Capitol and impede election certification in Washington, D.C. The collection focuses on how crucial the foundations of democracy are to the preservation of a functional government.
Share My Lesson Virtual Conference – Save the Date
Save the dates for March 23-25, 2021, for AFT’s annual Share My Lesson Virtual Conference.
This year from virtual learning or hybrid strategies, to mental health and trauma-informed practices, to current events and racial justice issues, there will be something for everyone, including newly developed virtual workouts. All for FREE! Learn more here.