Archives for May 2011

Brace yourself for attacks

"Brace yourself. 1-365" by Flickr user chelo.face.

The time period for gathering signatures on our petitions will soon end. Once the Ohio Secretary of State certifies that we have collected more than 231,000 registered voters’ signatures, S.B. 5 will be placed on the ballot in the November General Election and be subjected to the citizens’ veto.

Teachers, firefighters and police officers are some of the highest-trusted professionals in the United States. Despite this fact, we will be the target of an expensive and ugly political propaganda war waged by our enemies specifically designed to discredit us.

Soon, we will encounter ads on television, radio, the Internet and in print that will portray us as a lazy and opportunistic privileged class, unwilling to share the economic pain of the private sector. Our enemies will say that they are simply trying to fix Ohio and save the middle class, but they can’t because we stand in their way.

What our enemies will say about us will make our blood boil. As these attacks begin, it is only natural to want to blindly strike back in response, to do something, anything, in defense of our profession. We must take care not to burn ourselves out before the real battle begins. We must be strategic, measured and stay on message during the fight for our lives.

Take heart in the fact that we have been entrusted with that which is most precious to all Ohioans–their children. In the coming months, do not become discouraged and do not despair. We are all in this together. We will emerge victorious. We are CEA.

District creating couch potatoes

The Board of Education recently voted to lay off nine members of the CEA Bargaining Unit–many fewer than we expected. Attrition and the recently negotiated contract mitigated severe cuts to our unit; and we applaud this, except for the casualties.

We note a few hundred in particular: a 31-year teaching veteran–and a school building full of children whose health now is at stake.

It happened under the radar. A middle-school principal in an alternative school in the King-Lincoln District decided punishment was in order for the building’s physical education teacher who would not follow directives in blind obedience. This phys. ed. teacher had been hired by a former administrator–a highly regarded educational manager who went on to become an executive director.

So the principal waved the administrative wand and presto: There will be no physical education classes offered next year. Results? The teacher no longer has a position at the school. A physical education teacher at another school gets laid off. The children get no exercise.

CCS curriculum supervisors and the HR department have given their blessings for this cost-saving measure. Really? Is this a school district, or is this Wall Street? What is the real cost? Both teachers have made a life-long commitment to CCS and the students we serve. The district has invested millions of dollars in these employees and is now throwing this investment away.

But the students are the real victims. These students in their most critical years of adolescent development will lose three years of vital physical education necessary for their well being. How many times have we heard First Lady Michelle Obama talk about the need for physical activity and health education for our students? We all know that obesity and poor diet are prevalent among our CCS families. These children clearly are at risk.

We thought this district subscribed to the gold standard for our students. We thought our administrators wanted for our students what we all want for our own families. Could it be that this principal does not value physical education for his own children?

Make them see red

CEA members at Alpine ES formed the "Red Army" and wore their red in force on Thursday, May 12.

Every Thursday, from now until the November election, we ask that you wear red. Thursday is the day of the week on which the Ohio Governor signed Senate Bill 5 making it law. Red is a strong, emotional color. We associate it with anger. It tells us to stop at traffic lights and at stop signs. Let’s tell our legislators: “ENOUGH!” and show our solidarity in the fight to repeal this horrendous law.

Let’s declare our dedication to this effort by wearing red each Thursday. Gather your red-clad staff together each Thursday and take a picture of your colleagues. Email the photo to ColumbusEducationAssociation@ceaohio.org so we can feature our members’ solidarity against SB 5!  Additionally, you can RSVP to the event via Facebook by going to the CEA Events section of our Facebook page.