Category Archives: OEA News

Attention Members!

The OEA Day of Collaboration: Distance Education Webinar Series is an OEA member program that will focus on member to member collaboration and expertise as a capacity building strategy to strengthen OEA members’ ability to improve student success during this unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic.  This webinar series will address important distance education topics and provide an opportunity for OEA members across Ohio to share information, insights, resources and learn from each other. This series will take place on Mondays from 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM, starting August 10, 2020.

Monday, August 10, 2020  –  Webinar Topic: Remote Learning Plans

Time: 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

Registration Link: Zoom Registration – August 10 Distance Learning Plans

Description: This webinar will provide OEA members with an opportunity to understand the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Remote Learning Plan guidance for the 2020 – 2021 school year.

Guest Speaker(s): 
Jennifer Stump, Policy Staff
Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Ohio Department of Education

Contact:
Demetrice Davis, OEA Education Policy and Practice Consultant
Email: davisdem@ohea.org

A Message from Scott DiMauro, OEA President

Today, the OEA Board of Directors acted unanimously to adopt a position statement on safe and equitable reopening plans for schools and campus buildings for the 2020-2021 academic year. (Click here to view) Bottom line: Ohio’s schools and campuses should only reopen for in-person instruction when conditions are met that ensure the safety of students, educators, education support professionals, their families and communities.  We are calling on strict adherence across the state to public health standards based on CDC guidelines, including six-foot physical distancing and masks or face coverings for all staff, students and visitors.  Counties designated by the state as Level 4 (purple) or Level 3 (red) must open only for remote learning.

The Board took this position after considering feedback of members across the state.  In a poll just completed last week, 69% of our members told us they don’t think it will be safe to reopen schools.  As your union leaders and fellow members continue advocating at the local level, we are taking this step to support those organizing efforts to protect your health and safety and that of your students and loved ones.  Know that at all levels of our union, we have your back.

Our advocacy is strengthened by the incredible work each of you lead in your own locals every day.  We are also strengthened by our affiliation with a powerful national union, the NEA, which continues to offer invaluable support and guidance.  I encourage you to participate in tonight’s virtual town hall: “All Hands on Deck: Reopening Schools Safely and Equitably.” Click here to join.

OEA Testifies in Opposition to Senate Bill 320

Headliner

On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, OEA President Scott DiMauro presented opponent testimony on Senate Bill 320 (Matt Huffman-Lima) to the Senate Education Committee.  The bill would leave decisions on reopening schools for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year in the hands of local school district boards of education and would prohibit state officials from preventing reopening, ordering closings, or requiring school districts to adopt health safety measures and guidelines for addressing COVID-19.

In his testimony, President DiMauro stated, “OEA’s top priority remains the health and safety of our students, members, and the communities we serve. OEA believes that any decision on re-opening schools next year must be driven by guidance from public health officials. While OEA supports local control, we also support the authority of the Governor and public health officials to make decisions that are data-driven and scientifically-based to keep our students and educators safe.”

Click here to read the entire SB 320 testimony.

HB 164 – Ohio General Assembly Passes Changes in Education Law Due to COVID-19.

HeadlinerThis week the Ohio General Assembly used HB 164 to pass a package of changes to education law. These education amendments are intended to address issues arising from the closure of school buildings due to the COVID-19 health crisis. HB 164 was passed with an emergency measure and is effective immediately when signed by Governor. The General Assembly previously passed a package of education law changes in HB 197 (effective March 27, 2020).

Many of the education amendments to HB 164 are also in SB 319, a bill that received hearings in Senate Education Committee this week. SB 319 is no longer under consideration. OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing testified in Senate Education Committee regarding the various education amendments under consideration. OEA committee testimony can be found here.

Furlough and Continuing Contract Proposals NOT Included in HB 164

OEA strongly opposed two provisions in SB 319 regarding school district furloughs and limits on continuing contracts for next school year. Those provisions were NOT included in HB 164.

OEA’s analysis of HB 164 can be found here.

The package of education amendments in HB 164 included:

  • Payments  to school districts with decreases in utility TPP value; funding adjustment for districts with utility TPP value increases; teacher and principal evaluations for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year; teacher subject area or grade band assignment flexibility (OEA opposes this provision); online bus driver training; criteria for high school diplomas using final course grades in lieu of end-of-course exam scores; Third-Grade Reading Guarantee; reading improvement plans; academic assessment records for home instructed students; services to special needs students; remote learning; storm shelters; and religious expression in schools.