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.

Welcome back!


CEA President Rhonda Johnson

Welcome back! We at the CEA are preparing for a great school year. However, we are starting on a bittersweet note. Seventeen teachers from Superintendent Harris’ layoff list remain reduced, and we continue to fight for their jobs. However, 96 teachers have been recalled to work (or declined positions), a slight victory for our vigilance. We also hear that the state has received funds that could be applied to teacher salaries, if the governor so chooses.

We have seen the results of last year’s tests. Results were mixed. One big marker, our graduation rate, showed a slight dip. But we know it won’t stay there long. We’ve already made a lot of progress, and this year marks the beginning of a redoubled reform plan. Thanks to a $1.25 million grant from the NEA Foundation, CEA, along with the school district and United Way of Central Ohio, will begin implementing our effort to increase academic achievement in the Briggs and Linden-McKinley feeder patterns. Thirteen schools will be the intense focus of a community-wide effort to help their children and families address obstacles blocking success.

[Read more…]

84 percent of laid-off CEA members have been given recall notices

On Friday, Aug. 13, the administration of the Columbus City Schools confirmed to CEA President Rhonda Johnson that 96 of 113 CEA members that had been given layoff notices in late April have since been issued recall notices. Below is the article that ran in The CEA Voice regarding the layoffs.

On Friday, Apr. 23, the administration gave layoff notices to 113 teachers. Based on the staff allocations for next school year, there are more teachers than there are positions. Additionally, the administration projects a loss of 2,500 students for the 2010-2011 school year.

The areas of certification/licensure that are affected include: Visual Arts, English, Integrated Language/Arts, Spanish, Physical Education, Health, Music, Middle Childhood Education, Elementary (K-8 and 1-8), Early Childhood, Kindergarten–Primary, Life Sciences, Entertainment Marketing, Industrial Technology, Electronics and Job Training–Food Management Production.

Based on experience, past practice and history, CEA believes that too many teachers have been laid off for the following reasons:

* The loss of students has been steadily declining, with approximately 800 having left this school year.

* Human Resources hired more than 300 new teachers for this school year.

* More than 100 teachers have given notice that they intend to resign or retire at the end of this school year.

* Each year, about 50 teachers resign over the summer.

* Typically, the district hires no fewer than 100 new teachers each year.

* In past layoffs, teachers were recalled before the next school year started.

We hope that the district is not unnecessarily disrupting teachers’ lives and paying unemployment benefits over the summer, only to recall laid-off teachers when school starts.