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Quolke's Corner 3/29/12

As of the writing of this update, the drafted legislation of the Mayor’s Plan still has not been sponsored or introduced (dropped) in either the House or the Senate. Representatives of the Cleveland Teachers Union have met with the Mayor and his team, and Ohio Senators and House Representatives. We have finally gotten to a point of having productive dialogue. While that has happened – there are also major issues that lie between us and the Mayor with regards to the legislation that he wants introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. As long as a bill that is introduced contains the ability to fire teachers at low performing schools (blaming teachers for where they are assigned – not the quality of the person) and the elimination of our collective bargaining agreement we will battle any legislation brought forth in the General Assembly.
The Mayor and his partners have decided to turn up the fire on the blame the teacher movement. They have created teacher bashing legislation under the guise of improving education. You and I know that the contract and the teachers are NOT the impediment to educating children. There is no pill to fix urban education, if there were it would have been fixed long ago. The one true way that we know works is through collaboration. When have the teachers ever been invited in to the room to help design a Cleveland plan to fix education – the answer is never. As a matter of fact, as soon as I took office in 2008 the first thing I approached Dr. Sanders with was how to use the Academic Intervention Team that was called for in the contract to work on low performing schools. From there came the Turn Around Model. 9 of 10 schools showed academic gains, yet the initiative was dismissed with the coming of the Transformation Plan – a plan that ripped away many of the supports that these schools had and abandoned them.
Nevertheless, a history of trying with a stubborn district will not make this legislative agenda go away. We have worked to try to do what is right for the educators that have given their lives to the education and well-being of others. One area that has many members particularly concerned is the area of seniority. I believe that many are not fully aware of the implications of HB 153 that was passed in June of 2011. With or without the Mayor’s Plan or the CTU plan for seniority – seniority will not exist for all teachers in the state of Ohio after their contract expires. Starting with the expiration of contracts (for CTU 2013), educators will be ranked based on evaluation. Please see the chart below for comparison of the current law and the proposals that you have read about.
In Union,

·         Seniority is the sole criteria for reduction in force. No other factors can be considered.
(As a result of HB 153)
  • Evaluation will be the criteria for lay-offs. All teachers in Ohio will be evaluated 1, 2, 3, or 4 on composite evaluation. Lay-offs will be done in this order: Limited 1, Limited 2, Limited 3, Limited 4, Continuing 1, Continuing 2, Continuing 3, and Continuing 4. 
·         If evaluations are equal, then seniority will be used to rank teachers.
  • Considers evaluation the principal factor in the order of lay-offs and expands to include other factors such as breadth of license (how many things you can teach), number of licenses, specialized training, whether the teacher has recently taught and been evaluated in the subject area the teacher would teach if retained, and any other criteria as established by the school board to determine who is subject to RIF.
  • It would give the Board authority to pick and choose which individuals are laid-off, and completely disregard years of service.
  • The draft legislation expands reasons for RIF to repurposing of schools, school closure, and suspension or changing of teaching programs. 
  • The draft legislation expands reason for RIF to loss of enrollment by school. It would allow the district to do lay-offs at individual schools that lost enrollment, instead of based on District-wide loss of enrollment (your school has to lose 2 teachers because of loss of enrollment at your building – two teachers from your school would be identified for lay-off).
  • If this legislation were law over the last 2 years, the members that were working at the 16 schools that were closed - would be the members identified for lay-off. If this legislation were law, changing programs during the Transformation Plan (becoming a Wrap-Around, STEM program school, small schools in the high schools, etc.) would have triggered lay-off for the members in those buildings. Reading First, Schools for Tomorrow, Magnet Schools, Primary Achievement, and Multiple Intelligence (remember all of these?) could all be considered changing of teaching program and thus could trigger lay-off. 
  • This would allow the CMSD to lay teachers off based on where they are assigned, rather than who they are.
  • Teachers would be placed in RIF order within certification, based on performance evaluation, and contract status. Teachers would be placed in order in 8 separate buckets (if evaluation is a tie, then seniority is the tie breaker): 1) Teachers with evaluation of 1 and limited contract, 2) teachers with evaluation of 1 and continuing contract, 3) teachers with evaluation of 2 and limited contract, 4) teachers with evaluation of 2 continuing contract, 5) teachers with evaluation of 3 and a limited contract, 6) teachers with evaluation of 3 and continuing contract, 7) teachers with evaluation of 4 and a limited contract, 8) teachers with evaluation of 4 and continuing contract.   This is an expansion of the law that will be in place July 2013.
  • Timelines and support as listed under the Teacher Development and Evaluation System (TDES).
  • Training and certified evaluators as per ODE guidelines.
  • Remove language that expands reasons for RIF to repurposing of schools, school closure, and suspension or changing of teaching programs
  • Remove language that expands RIF to decrease of enrollment in individual schools.
  • Current state law makes it impossible to consider other factors for lay-offs. Amend current law to allow additional factors to be collectively bargained.


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