COLUMBUS – December 10, 2014 – The following statement is attributed to Becky Higgins, president of the Ohio Education Association:
“The OEA is disappointed that the State Board of Education removed ratios from Rule 5 of the Operating Standards that would have maintained a specific minimum staffing level for “educational service personnel.”
“OEA members made their voices heard loudly and clearly in advocating for the retention of the “5 of 8” rule. In alliance with parents and supportive community members all over the state, we offered testimony, wrote letters, and made phone calls to members of the State Board, and we generated well over 70,000 email contacts with board members. This advocacy certainly made a difference, but it will require continued vigilance at the local level to ensure school districts consider the needs of the whole child when making staffing decisions for their schools.”
“We do, however, acknowledge that the Board made substantial improvements over the previous proposed rule change. In particular, the Board took an important step forward in its decision to direct the Accountability Committee to develop a method for reporting the number of school nurses, counselors, librarians, social workers, and teachers of fine arts, music and physical education on local school district report cards. It moves the Board closer to living up to its responsibility to establish standards that ensure a well-rounded high-quality public education for all of Ohio’s students. We expect the State Board to do even more to make certain schools meet the expectations it lays out in its rules.”
“We hope local districts will get the message that licensed professionals in all of these areas are essential to support the needs of the whole child and that the state legislature will follow suit by ensuring all districts have the resources necessary to meet those needs.”
The Ohio Education Association (ohea.org) represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.
CONTACT: Michele Prater
614-227-3071; cell 614-378-0469, firstname.lastname@example.org