State news roundup for October 4, 2014

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Massachusetts – New Listening Tour videos online

What do teachers love about their jobs? What would they change? Hear from educators in the Gateway Regional School District and the Dover-Sherborn district who took part in the MTA Listening Tour.

 

MTA field representatives and the Communications Division worked with local presidents to set up the sessions, which were then videotaped. The conversations were wide-ranging and candid. Educators shared their views on student needs, standardized testing and mandated initiatives.

In the same vein, check out massteacher.org/reclaim for information on educator forums now being organized by MTA members. Let your voices be heard and organize to reclaim public education.

Visit MassTeacher.org to find out more and watch all the video from Gateway Regional.

Washington – Tell your friends: Yes on 1351 for smaller class sizes

Washington WEA our voice logoWashington ranks 47th out of 50 states for class sizes. As educators, we know our kids deserve better and that is why we are passionate supporters of I-1351.

The class size initiative is such a good idea because of what it does – reduces average class sizes for all students and increases opportunities for kids to receive the one-on-one attention they need to succeed.

People “get” this. Common sense tells us that kids learn better when they have more time with and access to their teachers. But we can’t take people’s support for granted, and that is where we are asking for your help. As an educator, you are a highly respected member of your community, and can serve as a trusted ambassador for I-1351.

Read more about the class size initiative and get involved at OurVoiceWashingtonEA.org.

Ohio – New website provides detailed comparison on charter and traditional public schools; improves data transparency

Ohio OEA logoThe Ohio Education Association and Innovation Ohio today announced the launch of a new website for parents, taxpayers and educators that will allow detailed comparisons between charter schools and traditional public school districts. The new on-line tool — KnowYourCharter.com — not only provides access to the state’s most recent Report Card information, but improves transparency by aggregating this and other relevant data at a single, easy-to-use website. Previously, locating this data required visiting multiple sites and extracting the information from numerous and often confusing spreadsheets.

At KnowYourCharter.com, visitors will be able to compare schools in a particular geographical area across a wide variety of indices, including State Report Card grades, the amount of state money the schools receive, the percentage spent on classroom instruction, and the average number of years of teacher experience.

“With nearly 400 charter schools operating in Ohio, with fewer accountability standards than exist for traditional public schools, we believe it is important that parents, educators, taxpayers and policymakers have the tools they need to see the comparative performance of charters, as well as the costs they impose on local school districts,” said Becky Higgins, President of the Ohio Education Association.

Find out more about the new website at OHEA.org or head directly to KnowYourCharter.com.

Michigan – New school safety inititiative now in place

OK2Say, the new student safety reporting system, was rolled out this month across the state. The new program will give students and adults a confidential way to report threats of violence in schools.

 

Students and adults can report tips 24 hours a day, seven days a week through various means-by phone call (1-855-565-2729), by text (to 652729), by email, through a mobile app, or on the OK2Say website. Regardless of the method used, a tipster’s identity will not be revealed. Tips will go to the Michigan State Police who will then notify the appropriate agencies.

Get the full story at MEA.org.

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