Archives for August 2013

You have lawyers

CEA membership provides a benefit that all of us need at one time or another: A legal services plan with reduced rates for those personal matters requiring a lawyer-such as developing an estate plan, resolving domestic matters or dealing with a traffic violation.

The Basic Plan (now known as the OEA/NEA Attorney Referral Program) is provided for every active member. When you become a member of the Association, you automatically receive, at a reduced rate, legal assistance with matters in five areas: real estate, wills and estates, domestic relations, consumer protection and traffic violations.

For a reasonable fee, payable by payroll deduction, the Comprehensive Plan provides more extensive coverage for people who need it. Included here are matters such as personal injury. The best thing is that your immediate family is eligible.

As a CEA member, you automatically receive four free half-hour meetings to discuss any legal matter, except income tax preparation. If you need more extensive legal assistance, including a document review, you can join the Comprehensive Plan and receive services at the discounted rate. A few legal services, such as help with business dealings, bankruptcy or taxes and defense in criminal matters, do not qualify for the discounted rate.

Call Cloppert, Sauter, Latanick and Washburn, the law firm administering the plan, at 461-4455 for consultations.

Service-learning: A garden and a future

Columbus took the spotlight this summer and showed how community engagement can change students’ lives. Beechcroft HS teacher Tori Washington and her students presented in Atlanta to NEA delegates the story of their community garden, one of many service-learning projects funded by a three-year grant in partnership with NEA, CEA and OSU. The presentation was part of the new “Raise Your Hand” campaign.

Students Rendell Buckhalter, Taryn Lewis-Smith, Chelsey Rodgers and Christian Scase took the stage. Rendell tearfully recounted how the project instilled in him a confidence he didn’t know he had. “I didn’t know what my purpose was in life,” he said. “Was I going to go to college or not? Community is now a big aspect of my life that I need to carry on. My teacher, Ms. Washington, empowered me and helped me look past the statistics about black males not graduating. Now I get up every morning and look at success right in the eye.”

The “Raise Your Hand” campaign features dynamic and respected teachers sharing ways to boost student success and achievement. NEA strongly believes that educators-not politicians or self-proclaimed “reform” experts-know what works. They are the ones to lead and act for student success.

“Our members are coming together to help lift up our good ideas, our smart policies and our successful programs and spread them to every corner of the country,” says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

Go to http://www.nea.org/raiseyourhand to see videos from the event.

Budget watch: It’s in ink

On Sunday, June 30, 2013, Governor Kasich signed House Bill 59, the $62 billion budget bill for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015. Prior to his signature, Kasich vetoed 22 items, including a requirement on how schools spend gifted-education funds and an exemption for charter school special-education teachers from taking examinations of content knowledge.

The good: Many other negative provisions were eliminated. For instance, we will maintain control over the salary schedule. The Ohio Board of Education will not revise operating standards this year. The state superintendent will not seize control of school districts with questionable student data reports. Two good additions: Teachers won’t be held accountable for the progress of students who are gone from school a minimum of 45 days. Charter schools now face stricter oversight and greater penalties for noncompliance.

The bad: The budget fails to restore more than $515 million of the $1.8 million in direct school support cut during the last budget cycle. It expands the voucher program; and, as of 2016-17, allows parents to use them if their schools don’t improve K-3 literacy at required levels. It gives charter schools $57 million more money than in the last budget cycle.

Mixed: Money from the K-3 literacy component was shifted to provide resources for students living in poverty. Districts must use this funding to extend the school day, provide reading intervention and instructional technology and implement dropout prevention measures and several other requirements. We are unsure if districts all will have the resources to fulfill these requirement.

Go here for the full summary.