Posted In: Alaska, Education Support Professionals, Educator Voices, ESEA/NCLB, Multimedia, New Jersey, Ohio, Rallies and Events, Wisconsin
Ohio – Voters First coalition submits over 450,000 signatures to put constitutional amendment on fall ballot
For too long politicians in our state have had the power to draw their own districts and gerrymander Ohio’s legislativ
e maps, to the point where our elected officials are not accountable to us, the Ohio voters.
But on July 3, the Voters First coalition took the first step toward ending gerrymandering in Ohio. Voters First, the non-partisan coalition that includes OEA and is led by the League of Women Voters, filed petitions with the Ohio Secretary of State [ed note: pictured above] to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Voters First submitted over 450,000 signatures from across the state to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
The Voters First amendment ensures every Ohio voter’s right to fair, competitive elections by replacing the current system—where politicians draw their own legislative and congressional districts—with an independent, non-partisan, citizens commission that will draw new districts out in the open for everyone to see. Politicians, lobbyists and political insiders are not permitted to serve on the commission.
“Under the current broken system, the politicians get to retreat to the backrooms and draw the lines of their own districts—giving them the power to rig districts to benefit themselves or their friends. It’s like letting the foxes guard the henhouse—and the results have been disastrous for Ohio,” said Ann Henkener, director of the League of Woman Voters.
Get the full story at OHEA.org.
Wisconsin – Wisconsin voices from the NEA RA
WEAC members from across the state this month participated in the annual National Education Association Representative Assembly, the largest democratic decision-making body in the world. Nearly 8,000 educators gathered in Washington, D.C. to determine education policy for the nation’s largest union.
Jane Weidner of Sheboygan, a WEAC delegate to the NEA RA, caught a number of her colleagues on video expressing their thoughts on the RA, the changing nature of unions and membership and how national education and association policy affects their community and schools. Weidner, a seventh-grade social studies teacher and seventh- and eighth-grade Spanish teacher in the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District, participated in her third NEA RA this year.
You can watch the full playlist of videos at WEAC.org.
New Jersey – Englewood secretaries, professional assistants fight firings
Over 150 secretaries, professional assistants, teachers, Bergen County NAACP branch members and community members came to Dwight Morrow High School on June 28 to protest the Englewood board of education’s move to fire the district’s secretaries and paraprofessionals and replace them with low-paid outside employees.
The group marched from the high school to John Grieco School, where a board of education meeting was being held later that evening. They marched to demand that the board listen to the community and respond to its concerns, because something this important should not be passed without community involvement and support. This move would affect more than 90 district employees, many of whom live in Englewood.
Concern about the board’s direction and lack of communication has been building for some time. On June 7, the board voted to negotiate with two firms that would provide the replacement employees. The firms selected claim they can offer significant savings to the district and help to close what the board claims is a $4 million budget gap for 2013-14. However, the district’s budget is actually already balanced for the coming school year, and the board has been unable to substantiate its claim of a large deficit for the following year. Further, many districts which have fired their own employees and turned to outside contractors have discovered that the promised savings never materialized.
Visit NJEA.org to find out more.
Alaska – Feds grant waiver to Alaska on No Child Left Behind law
The federal government has given the state a waiver that will allow achievement goals in math and language arts to freeze in place for one year, instead of rising sharply. The Alaska Board of Education still must OK the new plan. It’s on the board’s July 24 agenda.
Deputy Alaska education commissioner Les Morse says a one-year exemption will give lower-performing schools that are improving a better chance to make achievement targets.
Meanwhile, he said, the state intends to apply in September for a more comprehensive and long-term waiver of many NCLB requirements. If it’s approved, Alaska districts would operate in the future under a reform system more tailored to the needs of the state’s students, Morse said. The old system would be gone.
Read the complete article at NEAAlaska.org.