I also teach in Ohio. The district that I teach in is mainly middle to upper incomes. We always have a difficult time passing levies. We have a local newspaper gossip columnist who thinks we spend too much money, yet she is said to live in a half million dollar home (or more.) Our school system has had the top score on the Ohio report card every year its been out (I don't believe in that report card as an indication of how good the school is.)
We can't get computers for art. Or enough budget for supplies (mainly student fees, very little from the school.) For the first time the state has been stopped from raiding the lottery profits (they use to take the same amount of profits and then cut the ed. budget by that amount. Of course, the amount of money is very small once it would get spread to all the school systems. The voters though, forget that it doesn't all go to their school. It's all very frustrating. I also wonder why the lottery has to spend sooo much money on advertising. Do they think people won't play the games?
Why don't the NEA and AFT unions exert their influence through public
I agree with this statement. The politicians blame teachers for schools and come up with solutions that do nothing but make it sound like they are doing something. Forget vouchers; find money for school buildings that are in decent shape with small class sizes and materials. Do something about the situations where students move three to four times in a school year because their parent can't pay rent (wait ‘til that kid takes the 4th grade proficiency test, not much chance that he/she will pass, and if he or she moved in a day before the test, the school still gets blamed for the failure!)
Some of you may have heard that Cleveland just hired a new
superintendent at $270k/yr and perks out the whazoo. As one newspaper
I can't agree here though. A system as large as Cleveland should be run by someone who gets paid appropriately. You can't expect teacher salaries to go up if the person in charge of such a huge amount of money and personnel isn't appropriately compensated. Remember that it's no where near what a CEO of a huge corporation makes (even if those are all over-inflated that's a whole different conversation.) The problem is that the Cleveland system is too large. It should be divided up into smaller systems, all getting the same per student amount of money and new buildings. It will never happen.
They always talk about accountability in education. What about the contractors who supply things. How many building have been built that start to leak the next year; have electrical problems; part of the building starts sinking, etc. Does a contractor ever have to pay back the money or fix it?
My guess is unless our unions get the parents on our side and fight for changes, the politicians will continue to blast schools and avoid the changes that would help.
I'm sorry that you are facing a strike. Doesn't it make you want to strangle a baseball player or owner?