Courtney Johnson, proud member of TBS

CEA/TBS member Courtney Johnson testifies on Capitol Hill in March of 2011. Photo courtesy Pat Ryan/NEA.

Teachers for Better Schools (TBS) is the Columbus Education Association’s political-action arm, a separate entity from CEA developed to keep its eye on the political arena. It raises money for political candidates, levy and bond campaigns and other ballot issues affecting Columbus teachers and the school community.

TBS carefully studies the issues and informs all CEA members about the voting behavior and stated positions of our elected officials. Courtney Johnson is one of many CEA members that have also joined TBS.

She cites her mother, a longtime public servant (and now teacher) in Ironton, Ohio, as the inspiration for her entry into teaching. Johnson was hired by the district in 2001. Her first assignment was as a fourth and fifth grade special education teacher at Hubbard ES. She currently teaches ninth grade Humanities at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School.

“TBS is important to me because any decisions that are made by elected officials that could potentially affect my teaching conditions will irrevocably affect my students’ learning conditions,” said Johnson, who recently testified on behalf of Ohio education professionals before the House Democratic Outreach and Steering Committee in Washington, D.C.

“I joined TBS because I know that CEA doesn’t spend my dues dollars on political candidates or issues,” she continued. “I know that my donations are needed now more than ever before so that my voice can be heard. In fact, because of what’s before us, I’m increasing the amount that I give through payroll deduction. I am asking my colleagues who are not members of TBS to join, and those that have joined to increase the amount they donate to TBS.”

Like it or not, it is elected leaders who decide our fate. Senate Bill 5 will weaken the voice of educators and weaken our participation in the political process. Now more than ever, it is important to raise funds, support TBS and get out the vote.

CEA does not use dues money to promote individual candidates or issues. Instead, we ask you join TBS. To join TBS, ask your faculty representative for a TBS membership form or download a form from the CEA website at Sign up now. This is something that teachers can do now to fight for our future the future of public education and collective bargaining.